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Black-Owned Small Firms Face More Hardship in U.S. Recovery

By Amy Yee

 Small U.S. businesses owned by minorities are more likely to experience financial hardship than the average in a nationwide survey showcasing an uneven or halting recovery for those firms.

A “Black Owned Business” sign is displayed in the window of a restaurant in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Photographer: David Dee Delgado/Bloomberg

Nearly 60% of businesses with fewer than 500 employees were in fair or poor financial condition, while 77% said the pandemic continues to have a significant negative impact on operations, according to a report from the Federal Reserve’s 12 district banks released on Tuesday.

The responses varied significantly depending on the owners’ race.

Overall, leisure and hospitality sectors were especially hard hit, with half of those small firms reporting a large negative effect from the pandemic, compared with 26% of those in manufacturing.

A majority of businesses, 60%, cited both hiring or retaining staff and supply-chain issues as among their top challenges, the survey also found.

The Fed banks surveyed more than 10,900 small-business owners in 50 states from September through November 2021, in an online questionnaire conducted in English and Spanish.

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