U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy
First published August 2020
Black owners show biggest decline in business activity. Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on business owners have varied across demographic groups. Data on demographic characteristics and self-employment are collected through the Current Population Survey and available through IPUMS. In July 2020, the total number of people who were self-employed and working was 7.3 percent lower than in July 2019. That decline was a partial recovery from April 2020, when the decline was 20.2 percent relative to April 2019. Declines have been largest for Black self-employed workers, with a decline of 37.6 percent in April and a partial recovery to a decline of 18.4 percent in July. The effects of the pandemic have varied by industry, and demographic differences in the effects of the pandemic reflect demographic differences in distributions across industries.