Small Business Saturday: 61% of Illinois’ retail store owners have closed up shop

November 25, 2020

Bar and restaurant ownership down 71% during past year, thanks to COVID-19 and associated restrictions


MEDIA CONTACT: Melanie Krakauer (312) 607-4977

Small Business Saturday: 61% of Illinois’ retail store owners have closed up shop
Bar and restaurant ownership down 71% during past year, thanks to COVID-19 and associated restrictions

CHICAGO (Nov. 25, 2020) – As Illinoisans shop local businesses this Saturday, new analysis shows there are fewer of them than there were last year.

The nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute found Illinois has 11,200 fewer retail business owners as compared to last year, a drop of 61%. Bar and restaurant ownership took an even harder hit, with nearly 17,600, or 71%, of Illinois’ bars and restaurants closed compared to 2019.

In Illinois, Small Business Saturday comes as Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he is pursuing new tax hikes, such as raising the state income tax, that would damage local businesses.

Original small business analysis finds:
  • While some business owners have likely found other work, overall, Illinois has 10,200 fewer people who are self-employed compared to last year.
  • It isn’t just business owners who are hurting. Illinois is down more than 415,000 jobs compared to before the pandemic. In the food industry, there are 108,600 fewer jobs, compared to February. In the retail industry, there are 13,900 fewer jobs.
  • Many Illinois small businesses have been forced to close entirely because of COVID-19 and state-mandated lockdowns. New Tier 3 mitigation measures will likely result in further job losses and business closures.
  • The state’s high tax environment has created one of the least friendly business tax climates when compared to neighboring states, primarily driven by high property taxes, unemployment insurance and corporate taxes.

Bryce Hill, senior research analyst at the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute, provided the following statement:

“Small Business Saturday offers a moment to focus on the value these businesses bring to the economy.

“Raising taxes during a recession is the wrong thing to do for small businesses across the state, especially because many of them are struggling to keep the doors open. With so many local businesses and workers damaged by the COVID-19 downturn, it is imperative that lawmakers commit to avoiding the future harm tax hikes will do to businesses and jobs.”

To read the full analysis, visit:

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