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For Immediate Release: Thursday, July 28, 2022

Census Bureau Releases COVID-19 Economic Brief

Press Release Number CB22-TPS.68

Data Show Impact of Pandemic on Select Economic Sectors and State and Local Government Tax Revenue

JULY 28, 2022 — The U.S. Census Bureau today released a report on how economic surveys captured the initial shock and resulting impact of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as economic trends since the national emergency was declared. 

The The Coronavirus Pandemic’s Economic Impact brief uses data from the Quarterly Services Survey, Advance Monthly Retail Trade Survey, Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey, and Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories, and Orders Survey to gauge the pandemic’s impact on key economic sectors.

Surveys such as the Annual Survey of Manufactures, Service Annual Survey and Annual Capital Expenditures Survey collected new data to capture the economic impact of the pandemic. In addition, e-commerce sales in the Annual Retail Trade Survey and the Annual Wholesale Trade Survey highlight how shopping trends changed during stay-at-home orders.

The report also looks at how the pandemic impacted tax revenue, state expenditures on hospital and health services, intergovernmental revenue, and state and local government pensions through additional surveys — the Quarterly Summary of State and Local Tax Revenues, the 2020 Annual Survey of State Government Finances and the Quarterly Survey of Public Pensions.

Highlights include:

Economic Indicators

  • U.S. selected services estimated total revenue, adjusted for seasonal variation but not for price changes, decreased 8.7% from the first quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2020. 
  • U.S. retail and food services estimated sales, adjusted for seasonal variation, holiday, and trading-day differences but not for price changes, decreased 15.2% from March to April 2020.
  • Estimated sales of merchant wholesalers (other than manufacturers’ sales branches and offices), adjusted for seasonal variation, holiday, and trading-day differences but not for price changes, decreased 17.0% from March to April 2020.
  • Estimated shipments of manufactured goods, adjusted for seasonal variation but not for price changes, decreased 14.8% from March to April 2020.


  • Establishments in the Apparel Manufacturing subsector were closed an estimated average of 38.2 days in 2020.


  • Mental Health Specialists reported that in 2020, 39.2% of their estimated revenue came from telemedicine services.


  • The Food and Beverage Store retail subsector experienced its highest year-to-year growth in estimated e-commerce sales in 2020, up 172.7% from 2019. 


  • Estimated e-commerce as a percentage of total sales for U.S. merchant wholesalers increased from 33.6% in 2019 to 35.6% in 2020.

Annual Capital Expenditures

  • Of those U.S. companies with employees that received financial assistance in 2020, an estimated 61.0% used the funds to rehire or maintain employees on their payroll, 20.1% used the funds to pay the rent/mortgage, 15.3% to pay for utilities, 2.2% for capital expenditures, and 5.6% for all other expenses. (Companies may have reported in more than one category.)

Public Sector

  • Estimated state and local government tax revenue collections in the second quarter of 2020 fell by 19% from the same quarter in 2019 due to pandemic-related shutdowns and tax-filing deadline extensions but tax revenues collected rebounded by 46% in the second quarter of 2021.

No news release associated with this product. Tip sheet only.



Kristina Barrett
Public Information Office
301-763-3030 or
877-861-2010 (U.S. and Canada only)


Page Last Revised - September 8, 2022
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