Economic Impact

Small Businesses

Small businesses (less than 500 employees) have a powerful impact on the local economy and quality of life. They have generated 64 percent of new jobs since 1995, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Read about how these businesses, in general, support and shape their communities.

Restaurant Industry

The statistic below show how the restaurant industry, in particular, has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • According to the December 2020 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in leisure and hospitality is down by 3.9 million nationally, or 23.2%, since February 2020. In December alone, employment in leisure and hospitality declined by 498,000, with three-quarters of the decrease in food services and drinking places (-372,000).

  • The National Restaurant Association reports that restaurant sales deteriorated rapidly in the 4th quarter of 2020, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. After reaching a pandemic-era peak of $55.7 billion in September, eating and drinking place sale losses accelerated each month during the 4th quarter, edging down 0.3% in October, 3.6% in November, and 4.5% in December. As of December, eating and drinking place sales stood more than $14 billion – or 22% – below their pre-coronavirus levels in January and February. Overall, total restaurant and foodservice sales were down $240 billion from expected levels in 2020. This includes the sales shortfall at eating and drinking places, plus a sharp reduction in spending at food service operations in sectors such as lodging, arts/entertainment/recreation, education, healthcare, and retail.

Monthly Restaurant Sales Graph Chart

  • The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association posted the National Restaurant Association Economic Impact Survey Results (released 12/7/20) pointing to continued deteriorating economic conditions and indicating that 48% of Pennsylvania operators say they are considering temporarily closing their restaurant until the COVID-19 pandemic passes. Other highlights:

    • 45% of Pennsylvania operators say it is unlikely their restaurant will still be in business six months from now if there are no additional relief packages from the federal government.

    • 80% of Pennsylvania operators say their current staffing level is lower than what it would normally be in the absence of COVID-19. 59% of restaurants are currently more than 20% below normal staffing levels.

    • 65% of Pennsylvania operators expect their staffing levels to decline during the next 3 months. Only 1% of operators expect their staffing levels will rise during the next 3 months.

  • In mid-February 2021, the National Restaurant Association released the latest results of its Economic Impact Survey both nationally and Pennsylvania-specific. Highlights for Pennsylvania include:

    • 93% of restaurant operators say their total dollar sales volume in January was lower than it was in January 2020. Overall, sales were down 38% between January 2020 and January 2021.

    • Among Pennsylvania operators who say their off-premises business increased compared to pre-COVID levels, 80% say their higher off-premises sales have made up less than 30% of their lost on-premises sales.

    • 20% of Pennsylvania operators say they will 'probably' or 'definitely' be closed within 3 months if there are no additional relief packages from the federal government.

    • 62%  of operators are currently more than 20% below normal staffing levels.