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Economy

Small Businesses Slash More than 11 Million Jobs in April

NEW YORK — The nation's small businesses slashed more than 11 million jobs in April as they were forced to close or suffered steep revenue losses amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The tally from ADP counts jobs lost at the payroll provider's business customers with under 500 workers. The smallest companies, those with fewer than 20 workers, cut nearly 3.4 million jobs and those with 20 to 49 employees cut 2.6 million.

The numbers reflect the social distancing restrictions state and local governments began implementing in March and that forced the closure of many small businesses including stores, restaurants, gyms and sports and entertainment venues. But officials in many areas have begun relaxing those restrictions, which may lead to a reversal of some of the job losses.

However, even companies that remained open have been losing business as customers stayed home or cut back their spending. While companies that cater to consumers have been hard hit, businesses that serve other businesses also have seen their revenue drop.

The Labor Department has reported that more than 30 million people have sought unemployment benefits since the virus hit. 

April's losses reported by ADP surpassed the 170,000 jobs cut in March. By comparison, companies added more than 31,000 jobs on average each month during 2019.

ADP also tallied more than 20 million jobs lost at all its business customers in April. The Labor Department's April jobs report on Friday will also show the extent of the overall damage to the economy from the virus outbreak.

While many businesses closed during March, nearly 30% of businesses questioned for a U.S. Chamber of Commerce-MetLife report said they had closed during April, which helps explain the big drop in payrolls last month. The survey was taken from April 21-27 and questioned 500 companies.

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