How micro-businesses have blunted the economic impact of COVID-19

Digital businesses  — from part-time side hustles selling homemade jewelry to local restaurants that started fulfilling orders online during the pandemic — have helped U.S. communities weather the economic storm caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Orders placed on such websites almost doubled between January and April, as stay-at-home edicts caused consumers to move spending online.

The upshot is that communities with a higher concentration of these web-based micro-businesses tended to lose fewer jobs at the peak of the unemployment crisis. 

These and other findings are part of a new dataset from Venture Forward, a multiyear research project that combines information about GoDaddy’s millions of U.S. web domains with data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics and similar sources.

Of these “ventures,” roughly 75% are businesses and the rest are a mix of nonprofits, civic groups and personal sites. Because many of these ventures aren’t incorporated or don’t have Read more