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35 percent of Illinois’ small businesses have closed due to COVID-19, study says

More small businesses have closed in Illinois than in any other Midwestern state, except Michigan
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Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 12:48 PM CDT
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CHICAGO, Ill. (WIFR) - Small businesses have been badly damaged in Illinois in the year since state-mandated COVID-19 mitigation protocols took effect across the state.

35 percent of small businesses are closed now compared to before the pandemic, according to data collected from the Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker, a project of Harvard University. Analysis from the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute using this data found more small businesses have closed in Illinois than in any other Midwestern state, except Michigan. Illinois’ massive decline in the number of small businesses ranks eighth worst in the nation.

  • 50 percent of small businesses in the food services and accommodations industry and 51% of small businesses in the leisure and hospitality industry have closed, compared to before the pandemic. These were the most affected sectors in Illinois.
  • Nearly 38 percent of Illinois small businesses in the educational and health services industry are still closed, the sixth most in the nation.
  • Over 30 percent of small businesses in the transportation industry are still closed in Illinois, the eighth-most in the nation.
  • Nearly 34 percent of small retail businesses have closed, eighth-most in the nation.

Bryce Hill, senior research analyst at the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute, offered the following statement, “This data illustrates Illinois small businesses’ struggle to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year. Small businesses are the main job providers in the state – 69 percent of all new jobs created in Illinois come from firms with fewer than 20 employees. It’s vital they survive and reopen.

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