Mar 23, 2022 - Technology

Minority-owned businesses lag in pandemic recovery

Illustration of a sign saying "Sorry, we're closed" but the O has COVID-19 spikes.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Minority-owned small and medium sized businesses were more likely to close than the U.S. average, according to Meta's latest Global State of Small Business Report.

Why it matters: The new research, released on Wednesday, adds to the evidence that the pandemic has disproportionately harmed minorities.

By the numbers: 26% of the minority-led businesses surveyed by Facebook-parent Meta in January reported being closed, compared to 19% of non-minority owned-businesses.

  • Black-owned businesses hit record levels of lower sales, with more than half (51%) reporting lower sales than in the previous year.
  • Closure rates among women-led businesses rose to 25%, but there was no change in the 17% of men-led businesses reporting closure since the last survey in July 2021.

Yes, but: 54% of businesses surveyed globally reported higher or steady sales, marking the first time since the survey started in May 2020 that a majority of businesses did not have a reduction in sales.

The fine print: Meta surveyed 23,840 business leaders in 30 countries and territories, including 5,324 U.S. business leaders, in January 2022.

  • Small and medium sized businesses are defined as having less than 250 employees.

What they're saying: "Our small business surveys have consistently found that women and minority-led businesses have been hit the hardest during the pandemic," Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Meta, wrote in a blog post. "That remained sadly true during the Omicron wave."

The big picture: The Omicron wave appears to have jolted the recovery of small businesses globally, with an average closure rate of 20%, up from 18% in July.

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