Data: National Bureau of Economic Research; Table: Axios Visuals

The U.S. saw its largest ever decline in the number of business owners between February and April, as at least 3.3 million shut their doors, a new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research using the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey found.

What it means: The record wave of closures was widespread but disproportionately hit minority- and immigrant-owned firms, and "may portend longer-term ramifications for job losses and economic inequality," the study found.

  • African American businesses were the hardest hit.

The big picture: "No other one-, two- or even 12-month window of time has ever shown such a large change in business activity," author Robert W. Fairlie writes.

  • "For comparison, from the start to end of the Great Recession the number of business owners decreased by 730,000 representing only a 5 percent reduction."
  • The reduction from February to April this year is more than four times that much.

What's next: "More permanent mass closures of small businesses in the United States are likely to have a dramatic effect on employee job losses, further income inequality, and contribute to a prolonged recession."

Go deeper: A reckoning for small business

Go deeper

GOP senator says stimulus needs to be as "narrowly focused" on COVID-19 as possible

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said at an Axios virtual event Wednesday that the next coronavirus relief package needs to be as "narrowly focused" on COVID-specific issues as possible in order to resolve the differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Why it matters: Democrats and negotiators from the Trump administration remain far apart on a deal for the next tranche of relief. The fraught negotiations come as millions of Americans continue to suffer from the health and economic effects of the pandemic without the unemployment benefits from the first stimulus bill.

Updated 18 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios VisualsThe

The Philippines' economy sunk into recession as its gross domestic product shrank 16.5% in the second quarter — marking the lowest reading since 1981, official figures show.

The big picture: Millions of Filipinos went on lockdown Tuesday as cases surged past 106,300, with stay-at-home orders in place for two weeks in Manila and nearby provinces on the island of Luzon, per the BBC. The economy's contraction is the "deepest" on record, Bloomberg notes.

Coronavirus hotspots begin to improve

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections are falling or holding steady in most of the country, including the hard-hit hotspots of Arizona, California and Florida.

The big picture: A decline in new infections is always good news, but don't be fooled: the U.S. still has a very long way to go to recover from this summer's surge.