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The links between small business and COVID vaccination

With the Delta variant spreading more rapidly and with the new CDC guidance changing many companies approach to reopening, there is a a new Gusto study on public health and small business.    Here’s the findings.

States where COVID-19 cases have increased the fastest since the beginning of June have experienced the slowest employment growth. The data shows that a 10-percentage point increase in new cases is correlated with a 0.1 percentage point slower rate of headcount growth

The states with the slowest small business employment growth rates are Tennessee, Kansas, Mississippi, and Georgia. 

States beginning this summer with high vaccination rates are also seeing the strongest employment growth. We see that a one percentage point increase in the share of adults fully vaccinated increases a state’s small business employment growth by 0.1 percentage points.

The states with the highest small business employment growth rates are Vermont, Delaware, Montana, and Maine

“There’s a relationship between public health and small business health,” says Gusto economist Luke Pardue.

Let’s observe the data does NOT say that bigger employment growth is happening BECAUSE of vaccination rates – there are other variables at play.

In that vein, Facebook announced employees will be required to wear masks when offices reopen, adding to their vaccination requirement.     Disney has also made vaccination a requirement by the end of September, Walmart is requiring vaccination for workers at its headquarters, and Ford is now requiring masks at many locations. 

And within that market, a majority of active job seekers have explored new employment options in a different career field, according to a new report from CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the information technology (IT) industry and workforce.

Among current job seekers (approximately 28% of the workforce), 60% said they have looked at new opportunities in a different career field in the past three months. That compares with the 63% of job seekers who have searched for jobs within their current or most recent career field. The findings are nearly consistent across gender, age, education and race/ethnicity.

Why do we care?

There are a lot of variables in play.     I added the CompTIA data because I want to highlight the continued difficulty of hiring.. to then offer that most employees want to be safe.    Companies also want economic growth, and this data does show there is a link between vaccination and that growth.    Pulling from the study:

In order to generate a speedy recovery, and to avoid a costly COVID surge at a time when small businesses are just now making up lost employment gains, state, local and federal officials should devote resources to help areas increase public health measures.”

That leaves out what businesses themselves can do – which is also to require vaccination for employment.  Both large companies and  technology ones are leading here, which provides air cover for smaller companies.    A reminder, businesses are legally allowed to require vaccination.

There’s a link between employment growth and vaccination – and the majority of the population wants vaccination, as evidenced by the number of vaccinated people.     Are you willing to lead?