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Nearly half of all US small businesses could close permanently this year due to coronavirus

'It's a crisis that will impact our economy for generations'

View of entrance to closed drive-in movie theater during COVID-19 pandemic on State Route 9W. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

More than 40% of small businesses in the United States may be forced to file for bankruptcy and permanently close because of the economic harm caused by the coronavirus lockdown policies across the country, according to The New York Times.

The statistic comes from a poll conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which surveyed about 500 small business owners in late March, just a few weeks after COVID-19 lockdowns became widespread.

According to the poll, 43% of small businesses reported that they were three to six months away from having to permanently shut down. More urgently, 24% of small businesses said they were two months or less from permanently closing because of the coronavirus-related economic downturn.

The primary causes business owners cited for their struggles were shortened hours of operation, temporary closing, and adjustments to salaries or hours for employees. In the more than one month since that survey was conducted, conditions have not improved for most businesses as government-imposed coronavirus restrictions persist in many states.

"It's a crisis that will impact our economy for generations. We're going to lose so much of the small-business sector," said Amanda Ballantyne, executive director of Main Street Alliance, according to NYT.

The April jobs report will be released on Thursday this week, and is expected to provide the most complete picture so far of the economic consequences of coronavirus mitigation efforts.

Economists estimate that unemployment could hit 16.1%, and that the economy may have lost 22 million non-farm payroll jobs, which, according to The Wall Street Journal, is "the equivalent of eliminating every job created in the past decade."

The true scope of unemployment could be even more severe, however, with a WSJ self-reported survey of 18-to-64-year-olds indicating that as many as 34 million jobs have been lost since mid-March.

Some states have begun allowing certain businesses to open with limited capacity in areas of the country that have been less impacted by COVID-19, however, it could be months before a potential return to normal, depending on how the pandemic progresses and whether the cooler weather in the fall and winter brings a new surge.

(H/T The Daily Wire)

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