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From marketing to data firms, small business cut jobs

Restaurants, movie theaters and sports arenas aren’t the only businesses laying off employees and cutting hours as the coronavirus crushes the U.S. economy.

So are law firms, marketing companies, insurance providers and countless other enterprises that may seem insulated from the more direct body blows of an outbreak that has triggered the shutdown of public gathering spots across the country.

The vast majority of those affected are small businesses that lack the cash or credit lines that can prop up airlines and other large corporations for many months before they have to slash jobs. Firms with fewer than 500 employees make up 47% of private sector payrolls, according to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.

To be sure, restaurants, hotels, hair salons, stores and other consumer service providers are on the front lines of the economic meltdown as they lose the bulk of their sales, forcing them to abruptly lay off most or all employees. But those developments have reverberated across the economy in recent days, hammering the revenue of professional service businesses that sell to those restaurants and movie theaters, and creating a cloud of uncertainty that has chilled U.S. commerce broadly.

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