The economic effects of COVID-19 on the industrial sector ultimately rests on the crisis’ impact on manufacturing firms. Despite the multitude of firm surveys initiated by national and international organizations, there is still a lack of harmonized enterprise-level data on the manufacturing sector and on the responses implemented by firms and governments to mitigate the crisis, which would allow for cross-country comparisons of the pandemic’s impacts.

To help fill this gap, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)—in collaboration with governments, business chambers and other agencies—has been promoting the implementation of a series of online firm-level surveys to assess COVID-19’s impact on manufacturing firms around the world. As of February 2021, UNIDO has collected data from 20 countries and is expanding the survey’s coverage to include ten additional countries.

The data collected is expected to inform and guide policymakers in the design and implementation of economic recovery and resilience measures for the industrial sector, to set countries back on the path of structural transformation based on inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

These data will also serve as a key input to the next Industrial Development Report 2022, UNIDO’s flagship publication, which analyses the pandemic’s impact on global manufacturing and the prospects for the future of industrialization.

Survey Qs


UNIDO designed a standardized survey instrument that collects both quantitative and qualitative data. The questionnaire is structured in five modules covering several topics relevant for UNIDO’s mandate (including gender, investments and environmental sustainability), together with information on a wide range of firms’ characteristics.

• Current impact of COVID-19: partial/total closure; level of operations; main problems faced; changes in sales and workforce; changes in annual revenue.

• Expected impact of COVID-19: investments and environmental sustainability; survival and recovery.

• Dealing with COVD-19: changes to regular operations; government support.

• Profile of the firm: general information; sales profile; international operations; innovation profile; digitalization profile.

• Reasons for closure: questions targeting firms that have reported they are not operational.

The same survey instrument is used in all countries covered, which will allow for cross-regional comparisons in all of the survey’s dimensions.


Results from the first round of surveys

Shortly after the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, UNIDO started implementing the first round of rapid assessment surveys in a selected number of Asian countries. The results of this exercise have been documented in a series of assessment reports produced by UNIDO’s field offices with support and technical assistance from UNIDO’s Policy Research and Statistics (PRS) Department and the Asia and the Pacific Regional Coordination Division.

UNIDO COVID19 Assessment Afghanistan

Afg The findings of a survey of firms in Afghanistan indicate that the majority of firms was affected by the COVID-19 crisis and the containment measures during the months of May and June 2020. Ninety per cent of firms reported that the restrictions had an impact on their business, with small, medium and low-tech firms being affected the most...

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UNIDO COVID19 Assessment Bangladesh


In this study, 39 per cent of firms reported that at least half of their employees were unable to go to their workplace due to the government restrictions. Micro enterprises and SMEs have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic and restriction measures. By industry, the textile, apparel and leather industries were affected the most...

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UNIDO COVID19 Assessment Cambodia


As of 24 June 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected over 9 million people in more than 200 countries and territories around the world, resulting in more than 480,000 deaths. Cambodia has had a total of 130 cases, including 128 recoveries and 2 active cases, but no reported deaths so far. All businesses, regardless of size, are facing challenges...

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UNIDO COVID19 Assessment Indonesia


The study finds that small- and medium-sized enterprises have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic and containment measures. Nearly 60 per cent of all respondent firms reported that at least half of their employees have been unable to go to their workplace due to the government restrictions. This has led to a severe reduction in business...

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UNIDO COVID19 Assessment Lao PDR


This rapid assessment of COVID-19’s impact on the manufacturing sector of Lao PDR was carried out after 19 infected cases had been reported by end of April 2020, and the Government of Lao PDR (GoL) introduced containment measures and a lockdown. The survey was conducted online, and was carried out following several...

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UNIDO COVID19 Assessment Malaysia


Based on the overall observations of the manufacturing firms’ responses, small-sized firms have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 crisis and the related containment measures. These firms also reported that they would require a longer recovery period of between 4–6 months. While over two-third (70 per cent) of small-sized firms have...

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UNIDO COVID19 Assessment Mongolia


The impacts and economic consequences of COVID 19 are exacerbating economic hardship around the world. Private sector firms have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic crisis. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has conducted the survey “COVID-19 - Impact on Manufacturing Firms” among some...

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UNIDO COVID19 Assessment Pakistan


The negative impact of COVID-19 on SMEs has been observed without exception, however, the density of the impact has varied across sectors, sub-sectors, business types and firm size. At the highest level of segregation, the numbers show that agriculture was the least impacted with losses in revenue of between 10 per cent and 15 per cent...

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UNIDO COVID19 Assessment Philippines


The COVID-19 pandemic has left very few nations unscathed. In the Philippines, while concerted efforts around urgent health concerns were intensified, the response measures, including an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), caused disruptions across various economic and social sectors, endangering employment and livelihoods...

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UNIDO COVID19 Assessment Thailand


From overall observations based on information provided by responding firms, small-size and low-tech firms have been hit the hardest by the crisis and containment measures. Small-size firms furthermore have the least access to support provided by government stimulus schemes. Demand reduction poses the biggest challenge for firms...

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