Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Business Response Survey to the Coronavirus Pandemic

2020 Results of the Business Response Survey

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has developed new data on how U.S. businesses changed their operations and employment since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic through September 2020. This information, in combination with data collected by other current BLS surveys, will aid in understanding how businesses responded during the pandemic. Other BLS statistics collected and published during the pandemic provide indications of changes in employment, wages, job openings and terminations, employer provided benefits, and safety and health. The new data provides additional insights by asking employers directly what they experienced as a result of the pandemic and how they responded.

The new data were collected from July 20 through September 30, 2020. The reference period for the survey was from January 1, 2020 (before the pandemic) through the date that the survey was completed. The data were collected from private-sector establishments only; government establishments were not surveyed. As a result, the estimates of establishments and employment refer to private-sector establishments and employment. Total U.S. estimates include the 50 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Additional information about the sample, questionnaire, and estimation can be found in the Technical Notes.

See the data tables and maps and charts

Highlighted Results

  • Nationwide, 52 percent of establishments (4.4 million) told employees not to work (with or without pay) for at least some point during the survey reference period. See Table 4b. Among establishments that told employees not to work, 51 percent (employing 43.5 million workers) continued to pay some or all of their employees while they were not working. See Table 7. Among establishments that told employees not to work, 42 percent paid a portion of health insurance premiums for some or all of their employees while they were not working. See Table 10.
  • During the pandemic, 31 percent of establishments (employing 68.6 million workers) increased telework offered to employees. See Table 13a. In addition, 14 percent of establishments (employing 35.4 million workers) increased the amount of paid sick leave provided to employees. See Table 16.
  • Nationwide, 62 percent of establishments (5.3 million) received a coronavirus-related loan or grant tied to re-hiring or maintaining employees on the payroll. These establishments employed 74.2 million workers, representing 59 percent of total U.S. private-sector employment. See Table 19. Among establishments that told employees not to work and received a loan or grant, 59 percent continued to pay some or all employees while they were not working. See Table 22. By contrast, among establishments that told employees not to work and did not receive a loan or grant, 38 percent continued to pay some or all employees while they were not working. See Table 25.

Business experiences and payroll decisions

    • During the pandemic, 56 percent of establishments (4.7 million) experienced a decrease in demand for their products or services and 19 percent of establishments (1.6 million) experienced a government-mandated closure. Almost 72 million workers were employed at an establishment that experienced a decrease in demand, and 26 million were employed at an establishment that experienced a government-mandated closure. See Tables 1b and 1e.
    • Since the start of the pandemic, 36 percent of establishments (3.1 million) experienced a shortage of supplies or inputs and 11 percent (1 million) faced difficulties in moving or shipping goods as a result of the pandemic. See Tables 1a and d.
    • During the pandemic, 13 percent of establishments (1.1 million) experienced an increase in demand for their products or services, 6 percent (0.5 million) hired additional employees, 6 percent increased salaries and wages for employees, and 5 percent increased employees’ work hours. See Table 1c and Tables 4a and 4b.
    • Nationwide, 52 percent of establishments (4.4 million) told employees not to work (with or without pay), 30 percent (2.5 million) reduced employees’ hours, and 11 percent (0.9 million) reduced employees’ salaries and wages. See Tables 4b, d and f.
    • Among establishments that told some or all employees not to work, 51 percent (employing 43.5 million workers) continued to pay some or all of their employees while they were not working. See Table 7.
    • Among establishments that experienced a government-mandated closure, 80 percent reduced employees’ hours or told employees not to work. By contrast, among establishments that did not experience a government-mandated closure, 54 percent reduced employees’ hours or told employees not to work. See Table 52 and Table 55.

Health insurance and sick leave at businesses

  • Among establishments that told employees not to work, 42 percent paid a portion of health insurance premiums for some or all of these employees. See Table 10.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, 14 percent of establishments (employing 35.4 million workers) increased the amount of paid sick leave provided to employees. See Table 16.

Telework at businesses

  • During the pandemic, 31 percent of establishments (employing 68.6 million workers) increased telework offered to employees and 52 percent of establishments (employing 46.6 million workers) did not offer telework. See Tables 13a and 13c.
  • The industries with the largest percentage of establishments that increased telework offered to employees were educational services (60 percent), finance and insurance (58 percent), and management of companies and enterprises (54 percent). See Tables 13a and 13c.
  • The industries with the largest percentage of establishments that did not offer telework were accommodation and food services (91 percent), agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting (86 percent), and retail trade (75 percent). See Table 13c.

Businesses receiving a coronavirus-related loan or grant tied to re-hiring or maintaining employees on the payroll

  • Nationwide, 62 percent of establishments received a coronavirus-related loan or grant tied to re-hiring or maintaining employees on the payroll. These establishments employed 74.2 million workers, representing 59 percent of total U.S. private-sector employment. See Table 19.
  • Among establishments that told employees not to work and received a loan or grant, 59 percent continued to pay some or all employees while they were not working. See Table 22. By contrast, among establishments that told employees not to work and did not receive a loan or grant, 38 percent continued to pay some or all employees while they were not working. See Table 25.
  • Among establishments that told employees not to work and received a loan or grant, 70 percent paid a portion of health insurance premiums for some or all employees while they were not working. See Table 28. By contrast, among establishments that told employees not to work and did not receive a loan or grant, 56 percent paid a portion of health insurance premiums for some or all employees while they were not working. See Table 31.
  • Among establishments that received a loan or grant, 65 percent experienced a decrease in demand. See Table 37. By contrast, among establishments that did not receive a loan or grant, 43 percent experienced a decrease in demand. See Table 46.
  • Among establishments that received a loan or grant, 41 percent experienced a shortage of supplies or inputs. See Table 34. By contrast, among establishments that did not receive a loan or grant, 29 percent experienced a shortage of supplies or inputs. See Table 43.
  • Among establishments that received a loan or grant, 21 percent experienced a government-mandated closure. See Table 40. By contrast, among establishments that did not receive a loan or grant, 14 percent experienced a government-mandated closure. See Table 49.

Comparisons by industry

  • The industries with the largest percentage of establishments that experienced a decrease in demand during the pandemic were scheduled air transportation (76 percent), accommodation and food services (71 percent), and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction (70 percent). See Table 1b.
  • The industries with the largest percentage of establishments that experienced an increase in demand for their products or services were retail trade (27 percent), social assistance (23 percent), and wholesale trade (15 percent). See Table 1c.
  • The industries with the largest percentage of establishments that experienced a government-mandated closure were arts, entertainment, and recreation (48 percent), educational services (40 percent), and accommodation and food services (36 percent). See Table 1e.
  • The industries with the largest percentage of establishments that experienced a shortage of supplies or inputs were health care (64 percent), retail trade (59 percent), and accommodation and food services (50 percent). The industries with the largest percentage of establishments that faced difficulties in moving or shipping goods were wholesale trade (23 percent), truck transportation (23 percent), and retail trade (22 percent). See Table 1a.
  • Among establishments in arts, entertainment, and recreation, 70 percent told employees not to work and 64 percent received a loan or grant. Among establishments in accommodation and food services, 70 percent told employees not to work and 77 percent received a loan or grant. See Table 4b and Table 19.
  • Among establishments in health care, 64 percent experienced a decrease in demand and 13 percent experienced an increase in demand. See Tables 1b and 1c.
  • The industries with the largest percentage of establishments that received a loan or grant were accommodation and food services (77 percent), health care (74 percent), and retail trade (70 percent). Total employment in these three industries was 32 million. See Table 19.

Comparisons by establishment size

  • Both large (500 or more employees) and small (fewer than 500 employees) establishments experienced government-mandated closures at a similar rate (17 percent and 19 percent, respectively). See Table 3e.
  • Among large establishments, 67 percent told employees not to work, compared with 52 percent of small establishments. See Table 6b.
  • Among large establishments that told employees not to work, 62 percent continued to pay those employees while they were not working, compared with 51 percent of small establishments. See Table 9.
  • Among large establishments that told employees not to work, 86 percent paid a portion of health insurance premiums for these employees, compared with 42 percent of small establishments. See Table 12.
  • Among large establishments, 86 percent increased telework offered to employees, compared with 31 percent of small establishments. See Table 15a.
  • Among small establishments, 62 percent received a loan or grant, compared with 21 percent of large establishments. See Table 21.

Comparisons by state

  • Six states and Puerto Rico had a percentage of establishments that experienced a government-mandated closure that was substantially higher than the national percentage of 19 percent: Puerto Rico (50 percent), Michigan (32 percent), Pennsylvania (30 percent), Washington (27 percent), Vermont (26 percent), Hawaii (26 percent), and New York (26 percent). Six states had a percentage of establishments that experienced a government-mandated closure of 10 percent or less: South Dakota (6 percent), Arkansas (8 percent), North Dakota (9 percent), Utah (9 percent), Wyoming (9 percent), and Nebraska (10 percent). See Table 2e.
  • Four states and Puerto Rico had a percentage of establishments that told employees not to work that was substantially higher than the national percentage of 52 percent: Puerto Rico (72 percent), Michigan (63 percent), New York (60 percent), Pennsylvania (60 percent), and New Jersey (59 percent). The states with the lowest percentage of establishments that told employees not to work were South Dakota (40 percent), Wyoming (43 percent), Nebraska (43 percent), and Arkansas (43 percent). See Table 5b.
  • The states with the largest percentage of establishments that received a loan or grant tied to payroll were Alabama (67 percent) and Hawaii (67 percent). Nationwide, the percentage of establishments that received a loan or grant was 62 percent. District of Columbia (55 percent), Montana (57 percent), and New Mexico (57 percent) had the lowest percentage of establishments that received a loan or grant. See Table 20.