Survey: PR eclipses US states in small businesses requiring employees to vaccinate

By The Star Staff

Puerto Rico leads U.S. states in small businesses requiring proof that their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s newest Phase 5 results of the Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS).

The survey shows that 19% of employers on the island required the vaccine compared with a national average of 4.4% based on responses collected May 31 to June 6 and released last week.

The national average has slowly ticked up during the spring of 2021, going from 2.5% at the end of April to the current 4.4%. During the same period, the average in Puerto Rico trended up from 14.8% to the current 19%.

It should be noted that there was a gap between the end of Phase 4 and the beginning of Phase 5. The last Phase 4 results were for April 12 to April 18; the first Phase 5 results were for May 17 to May 23.

The states with the most small-business employers requiring COVID-19 vaccines: California and New York (both 7.7%), New Jersey (6.6%), Maryland (5.7%), and Oregon (5.6%).

States with the fewest employers requiring the vaccine: Georgia (2.5%), Ohio (2.8%), Florida (2.9%), Texas (3.1%) and Michigan (3.7%).

Requirements varied across business sectors, too. Health care had the highest percentage (6.6%) of employer-mandated COVID vaccinations, followed by the accommodation & food services (6.4%) and education (also 6.4%) sectors.

Sectors with lowest rates of required vaccinations: Administrative, support, waste management, and remediation services (2.1%); real estate, rental, and leasing (2.6%); transportation and warehousing (2.7%); manufacturing (2.9%); and construction (3.1%).

The newest phase of the Small Business Pulse Survey, known as 5.0, began May 17 and initial results were released May 27. The Census Bureau plans to continue to release data every Thursday through July 22.

The SBPS measures the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on U.S. small businesses, complementing existing Census Bureau data collections by providing high-frequency, detailed information on the challenges small businesses are facing.

The survey includes information about small business operations and finances, requests and receipt of assistance, COVID-19 vaccinations and testing and measures of overall well being and expectations for recovery.

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