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March 12, 2021

A year into COVID, Worcester County small businesses revenue down 51%

Photo | Grant Welker A for-lease sign at the White City shopping plaza in Shrewsbury

In the middle of last March, lots of Worcester County businesses were forced to close or at least quickly roll back or change operations. A year later, the economic hit is still profound.

Average daily small-business revenue in Worcester County was down 51% through Feb. 2 compared to the average daily in January 2020, which was before the coronavirus pandemic hit, according to Opportunity Insights, an economic activity tracker run by a consortium including Harvard University in Cambridge and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle.

Image | WBJ Source: Opportunity Insights
Small-business revenue in Worcester County plummeted early in the pandemic and has only slightly rebounded since.

That's worse than during the height of the initial pandemic surge last spring in late April and May, and worse than in early- to mid-January, when local cases were at their highest level.

Local small business revenue reached its worst point last April when at one point business was down 59%. By late May, revenue had made a relative rebound to only a 33% drop, but even through last summer when coronavirus cases dwindled, revenue was down an average of roughly 40%, according to Opportunity Insights, which seasonally adjusts its numbers.

Worcester County is no outlier. Middlesex County small-business revenue remains down 54%, and Norfolk County by 46%. Suffolk County, which includes Boston, is down 53% and Massachusetts is down 48% in total.

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