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Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey Shows States Where Employers Require COVID Vaccines

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Note: An earlier version of this story included state and sector comparisons. The updated version excludes those comparisons because they are not statistically significant.

Puerto Rico leads U.S. states in small businesses requiring proof that their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s newest Phase 5 results of the Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS).

The survey shows that 19.0% of employers in the U.S. territory required the vaccine compared with a national average of 4.4% based on responses collected May 31 – June 6 and released last week. 

The national average for vaccination requirements has slowly ticked up during the spring of 2021, going from 2.5% as of April 18 to the current 4.4%, although the figure has not changed significantly for Puerto Rico. 

Note that there was a gap between the end of Phase 4 and the beginning of Phase 5. The last Phase 4 results were 4/12-4/18; the first Phase 5 results were 5/17-5/23. 

Conversely, the national average for testing requirements has dropped slightly over the same time period, going from 7.5% to 5.3%, although the figure has not changed significantly for Puerto Rico.   

The newest phase of the Small Business Pulse Survey, known as 5.0, began May 17 and initial results were released May 27. We plan to continue to release data every Thursday through July 22. 

The SBPS measures the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on our nation’s small businesses, complementing existing Census Bureau data collections by providing high-frequency, detailed information on the challenges small businesses are facing. 

The survey includes information about small business operations and finances, requests and receipt of assistance, COVID-19 vaccinations and testing and measures of overall well-being and expectations for recovery.

Weekly data downloads and visualizations are available at the national, sector, state and metropolitan statistical area (MSA) level for the largest 50 MSAs and Puerto Rico. Subsector and state-by-sector data are also available for download.

Jane Callen is the senior writer/editor in the Census Bureau’s Communications Directorate.

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Page Last Revised - April 3, 2023
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