Ong Points to Chinatown as Economic Barometer

Center for Neighborhood Knowledge Director Paul Ong was featured in a Bloomberg article about the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Chinatown businesses. Across the United States, Asian American businesses experienced a slowdown even before the pandemic arrived in the United States as a result of xenophobic fears about the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. According to Ong, these businesses could be a strong indicator of the long-term economic impact of the pandemic on small businesses. “What distinguishes Chinatown businesses is that they’ve been facing financial and fiscal problems for a much longer time, with deeper cuts to revenues,” he explained. Ong stressed the importance of relief stimulus packages to protect these historic communities before it’s too late. “If we can intervene to save these businesses and neighborhoods, that may tell us a lot about what we need to do to help businesses and workers beyond Chinatown,” he concluded.


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