The 2021 Worker Cooperative State of the Sector is here, covering two years of cooperative business progress. This report on worker-owned business in the United States draws upon the latest developments in the field and deepens our understanding of the sector at a critical moment for worker-ownership. The report includes data on COVID’s impact on worker cooperatives, an updated map of metro areas home to worker cooperatives, along with a breakdown of business number totals in the top nine states and Puerto Rico. Altogether, the 612 businesses identified in the census reflect sector growth of more than 30% in two years.
Here are just some highlights from our findings related to the impact of COVID-19 on worker co-ops:
- During the pandemic, worker co-ops prioritized supporting their community & other cooperatives. 73% offered discounts or resources to meet community needs, 60% offered discounts or resources to another cooperative and 61% worked with local or regional mutual aid networks to meet a community need in 2021
- In 2021, the Worker Co-op experience may have offered some resilience to majority Black, Indigenous and People of Color-led firms compared to the effects seen on conventional Black-owned businesses
- While all types of small businesses suffered during the pandemic, only 20% of worker cooperatives surveyed lost over half of their revenue, compared to 28% of all small businesses who lost over half of their revenue in 2021
The 2021 Worker Cooperative State of the Sector is a co-production of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives and the Democracy at Work Institute.