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Measuring the Effect of COVID-19 on U.S. Small Businesses: The Small Business Pulse Survey

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Working Paper Number CES-20-16


In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Census Bureau developed and fielded an entirely new survey intended to measure the effect on small businesses. The Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS) will run weekly from April 26 to June 27, 2020. Results from the SBPS will be published weekly through a visualization tool with downloadable data. We describe the motivation for SBPS, summarize how the content for the survey was developed, and discuss some of the initial results from the survey. We also describe future plans for the SBPS collections and for our research using the SBPS data. Estimates from the first week of the SBPS indicate large to moderate negative effects of COVID-19 on small businesses, and yet the majority expect to return to usual level of operations within the next six months. Reflecting the Census Bureau’s commitment to scientific inquiry and transparency, the micro data from the SBPS will be available to qualified researchers on approved projects in the Federal Statistical Research Data Center network.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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