As the Capital Region pivots from stopping the spread of the pandemic to reopening and restarting the economy, it is crucial that we identify which parts of the economy were hit the hardest, in order to best focus relief efforts. While there is an intrinsic understanding of how important small businesses are to the local economy, community and political leaders rarely take the time to quantify just how critical they are. Based on the size and scope of the small business community in Baton Rouge, as well as the disproportionate devastation the economic shutdown had on it, small business is and should continue to be a focal point of recovery efforts. Today, BRAC released a commentary digging into the topic.
Key takeaways include:
- Small business accounts for nearly 90 percent of businesses in the Capital Region, as well as a majority of jobs;
- Nearly a third of small businesses in operation as of January 2020 were not operating in Phase One of reopening;
- Small business revenue was down more than 25 percent near the end of Phase One;
- The Capital Region lost almost 54,000 jobs as of April, including more than 20,000 in the sector accounting for restaurants, bars, and hotels;
- While the generous federal unemployment supplement of $600 weekly has caused some employers difficulty in rehiring employees, the elimination of the benefit enhancement will translate to tens of millions of dollars in diminished income for the region.