This post was written by Lynn Weinstein a Business Reference Librarian in the Science, Technology, and Business Division.
Asian-owned businesses make up 10 percent of all businesses in United States (approximately 555,262 employer establishments), and during the COVID-19 pandemic many have felt the effects of a new rise in anti-Asian sentiment. Some Asian American businesses have been boycotted or vandalized, and some employees and owners have been physically and verbally abused.
Asian Americans have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic, with the Asian community (around 7% of the U.S. population, or 22 million in 2019) facing historic unemployment and discrimination. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 54% of Asian Americans work in management, business, the sciences, and the arts; 17% work in sales and office occupations; 17% work in service occupations and 10% work in production, transportation, and material moving occupations.
This month honors the contributions of Asian Americans, and social media campaigns have emerged encouraging people to shop at Asian American and Pacific Islander-owned businesses that have been so adversely affected by COVID-19. Asian American businesses have grown on the internet in response to the pandemic, with many sites featuring a variety of goods, including cosmetics, food, beverages, home goods, and gifts. It should be noted that Chinatowns have been particularly hard hit during these times, as tourists are no longer flocking to these business districts, and the neighboring workforce in these areas has yet fully returned in many communities.
- Explore the Small Business Hub: A Research Guide for Entrepreneurs. The guide includes a section on COVID-19 Resources and Financial Relief for Small Businesses, including information on recent legislation such as the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program and the Small Business Administration Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
- To find firsthand accounts of the Asian American experience in the U.S., visit the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center (AFC) site. The AFC was created in 1976 by the U.S. Congress to “preserve and present American folklife.” Listen to the interview featuring hairdresser Iku Kawashita from Ozuki Salon in Washington, D.C. The salon offers specialized Japanese services, such as kimono dressing and a green tea service with a Japanese cookie. The interview discusses the advantages of marketing to an Asian clientele.
- To find more information on material available at the Library of Congress and online, examine Asian American and Pacific Islander Materials: A Resource Guide