The Impact of Covid-19 on Us Firms

36 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2021 Last revised: 13 Nov 2021

See all articles by Nicholas Bloom

Nicholas Bloom

Stanford University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Robert Fletcher

Stanford University

Ethan Yeh

World Bank

Date Written: January 2021

Abstract

We use survey data on an opt-in panel of around 2,500 US small businesses to assess the impact of COVID-19. We find a significant negative sales impact that peaked in Quarter 2 of 2020, with an average loss of 29% in sales. The large negative impact masks significant heterogeneity, with over 40% of firms reporting zero or a positive impact, while almost a quarter report losses of more than 50%. These impacts also appear to be persistent, with firms reporting the largest sales drops in mid-2020 still forecasting large sales losses a year later in mid-2021. In terms of business types, we find that the smallest offline firms experienced sales drops of over 40% compared to less than 10% for the largest online firms. Finally, in terms of owners, we find female and black owners reported significantly larger drops in sales. Owners with a humanities degree also experienced far larger losses, while those with a STEM degree saw the least impact.

Suggested Citation

Bloom, Nicholas and Fletcher, Robert and Yeh, Ethan, The Impact of Covid-19 on Us Firms (January 2021). NBER Working Paper No. w28314, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3772594

Nicholas Bloom (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://economics.stanford.edu/faculty/bloom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Robert Fletcher

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Ethan Yeh

World Bank ( email )

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Washington, DC 20433
United States

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