Tracking the Impact of COVID-19 on Businesses

This is a series of keynote summaries from the virtual 60th Annual C2ER Conference and LMI Institute Forum held June 1 – 5, 2020.

The keynote session on the third day of the C2ER conference demonstrated how insight from businesses on the ground, coupled with high level data, help us to better understand the direct impact of COVID-19 while shining a light on the innovative strategies businesses are adopting to survive. Data is key to understand the real time challenges the pandemic has and will bring as well as the innovative ways businesses are adapting.

During this keynote session, Christine Chmura, Cathy Buffington, Eric Canada, Drew Conrad, and Bart Watson shared crucial data collection and analysis they are working on to shed light onto the business impact. Their work and a few findings include:

  1. This crisis will be shorter and sharper than past economic crises, but its impacts will be sustained until a vaccine allows businesses and consumers to restore supply and demand chains.
  2. The path to pre-COVID employment rates will vary by industry and across regions but most should anticipate reaching pre-COVID employment levels in the third quarter of 2022.
  3. The U.S. Census Bureau’s experimental data product, Small Business Pulse Survey, captures the impact on small businesses and provides several data visualizations to better understand changes over time on the national level and by sector.
  4. A steering committee distributed surveys to their networks to understand the business and human impact of the coronavirus. Almost half of businesses believed they would close their doors after two months.
  5. Federal support has provided businesses with much-needed time and space to innovate and seek sustainable ways to meet consumer demand.

To learn more about this work on the ground and the findings, a recording of the session is available to conference attendees through the Whova platform. As states begin to reopen, the devastating shocks are beginning to ease but, until a vaccine is widely available, businesses will have to continue to innovate.