Economic Recovery and Employee Ownership, a new report from National League of Cities and The Democracy at Work Institute, offers insight into the potential employee ownership has as a tool for driving equitable economic recovery and growth; includes case studies of successful employee-owned businesses; and details several low-cost, high-impact steps that cities can take to catalyze employee ownership at the local level.

Key Takeaways:

  • As cities seek to recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, municipal support for the transition of companies to employee ownership offers an opportunity to save many small businesses, significantly shorten the path to economic recovery, and create a foundation for a truly resilient economy.
  • Employee ownership models have the potential to expand the middle class, narrow the racial wealth gap and strengthen the economy — and city leaders can play a unique role in scaling this solution and making it broadly available to business communities at the local level.
  • 86 percent of respondents to a 2020 survey of worker cooperatives said they had structures in place to quickly make decisions in the workplace, enabling them to more easily adapt and respond to COVID-19, and 68 percent either planned to maintain the same workforce or hire additional workers. 
  • Employee-owned businesses offer higher wages, create quality jobs, offer greater job security, and foster business stability, which makes this a powerful tool for equity when targeted toward low-wage workers and workers of color.