GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new study shows that Grand Rapids ranks No. 9 in the country in large metros for being the most reliant on small businesses. This comes during a time when many of them need help the most because of the pandemic.

The study by Construction Coverage, which is based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, says half of employees who work in Grand Rapids do so at small businesses. It also says there are more than 19,000 small businesses in the city.

Paul Isely, the associate dean of undergraduate programs for Grand Valley State University’s College of Business, says while only 8% of the small businesses in Grand Rapids are in the manufacturing industry, they account for 20% of employees.

He says during the pandemic those specific jobs helped local businesses as a whole stay afloat. However, he wants to make sure people continue to support other industries, such as restaurants and entertainment venues, as they reopen.

“We need to be able to protect what’s left so that as we come out of that recession, there are restaurants to go to and spend our money at,” said Isely.

The full study can be found online