Das Dokument ist öffentlich zugänglich im Rahmen des deutschen Urheberrechts.

This study considers the economic impact of Covid-19 on enterprises in four Central American countries - El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. At the time of the analysis neither the pandemic nor its economic consequences had fully run their course. It is not, therefore, a definitive analysis but it is important to try to draw important lessons as soon as possible. The main focus of the study was the initial impact on labour markets. The analysis was based on World Bank enterprise surveys** undertaken before the outbreak of Covid-19 and follow-up surveys on the effects of the pandemic, also undertaken by the World Bank. These were combined with data on government containment measures and on morbidity and mortality rates. The use of enterprise data to analyse labour market issues has some limitations but also many strengths. The data is useful for analysing the consequences for gender equality in employment. Since the demand for labour is a derived demand firm level data provides a clear link to labour market effects. The pandemic has caused a significant loss in sales for many firms, This creates a loss of liquidity which, in turn, has caused some firms to reduce employment, working hours and wages. Government containment measures necessary to save lives such as temporary workplace closures have added to the burden for both firms and employees. The study starts by using the surveys to identify the important stylised facts. Although some issues are already well documented anecdotally through media reports this provides a more evidence based approach. It also helps identify several issues, such as the impact on gender equality which have received less journalistic attention. The study is further supported by a regression analysis (OLS and SURE) of several key outcomes (changes in sales, employment, the share of females in employment and firm expectations of survival). [...]