According to Axios, more business were lost in the last 3 months than all of the Great Recession. This has staggering implications for rural and small towns. According to Robert Fairlie, an economist at UC Santa Cruz, at least 3.3M business shut their doors from February to April of this year. Why does this matter so much to those of us living off the beaten path?
First, rural and small towns aren’t often big economic producers. In fact, half of US GDP comes from the top 25 largest US metros. In other words, rural and small towns benefit when these large urban centers do well economically.
Second, rural America has been lagging in small business growth. According to a 2019 SBA study since 2000, the number of physical locations in which a firm operates has grown by 30.9 percent in metropolitan counties, while the number in rural counties has grown by only 7.2 percent.
Lastly, rural and small towns will face stiff winds to grow our economies following the 2020 pandemic and recession. Losing this many businesses this early on speaks to the need for strong entrepreneurship support and an awareness of the broader economics that affect our backyards.