Press Releases

Press Releases: Controller’s Office Releases Report on the Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses

For immediate release: Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Contact: Jolene Nieves Byzon, 215-300-1071

Philadelphia, PA – The Office of the City Controller released part one of a four-part report series on the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Philadelphia’s small business community. Part one focuses on the scale of the small business crisis in Philadelphia, comparing it with other large U.S. counties and providing insight into the unique challenges faced by Philadelphia. Parts two through four will identify the neighborhoods, workers, and business owners most impacted by the economic shutdown.

“Philadelphia’s vibrant small business community is a huge part of our identity and serves a vital role in our neighborhoods and economy,” said City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart. “But, many of these businesses were particularly susceptible to the stay-at-home order. When you consider Philadelphia’s poverty and unemployment rates were among the highest in the country before the pandemic, it’s crucial that resources are being allocated appropriately.”

Part one’s analysis found that Philadelphia’s small businesses and workers are expected to be more severely impacted by the economic shutdown than those in other large counties across the country. According to Census data, Philadelphia has the largest share of small businesses in industries most affected by the crisis, including restaurants, retail, personal services, and hospitality and leisure. About 70 percent of Philadelphia’s jobs are in one of these industries, causing workers to be severely impacted by the current shutdown as well. Since mid-March more than 150,000 workers, or 21 percent of the city’s total workforce, have filed for unemployment.

“We’ve experienced a great deal of instability and uncertainty from the pandemic,” added Controller Rhynhart. “New challenges, like the recent civil unrest, make it even more important for us to understand the current landscape so we can make decisions that protect our most vulnerable populations and communities. As City leaders and elected officials, we cannot let our small business community become another loss during this time.”

Read part one of the series here. The remaining portions will be available over the coming weeks at

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