26 April 2021
Firms in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region have been hit hard by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, with dramatic and widespread falls in sales and employment. Firm sales in some EAP countries were 38 to 58 percent lower in April or May 2020, compared to the same month in the previous year. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been particularly affected. The pandemic will have a lasting impact on productivity growth as firm indebtedness and increased uncertainty inhibit investment, and firm closures and unemployment lead to a loss of valuable intangible assets. Support for firms is needed but must be based as far as possible on objective criteria, related not only to past performance or current pain but to the potential for firms, including new firms, to thrive in the future. To avoid unduly prolonging assistance, governments should build exit strategies into the design of support measures and commit to phasing support out by linking it to observable macroeconomic indicators of recovery.
covid-19 coronavirus employment small and medium-sized enterprises government support microenterprises pandemic response economic shock sales revenue firm productivity private sector development :: private sector economics private sector development :: business environment macroeconomics and economic growth :: business cycles and stabilization policies public sector development :: public sector expenditure policy health, nutrition and population :: disease control & prevention pandemic impact