A survey of small business owners in New York released Thursday by Facebook found only 59% are confident in their ability to remain open for six months.

The findings underscore the challenge the state faces in jump-starting its economy after being one of the hardest-hit states in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey's release comes as New York continues to face an unemployment rate that is higher than the national average, but has seen signs of a nascent economic recovery in the last several weeks. The survey also comes as businesses are assessing a post-COVID pandemic landscape, and as the pace of vaccinations in New York and around the country has steadily increased.

The survey found 38% of small businesses reduced employment as a result of the pandemic, the highest rate in the country and an 11 percentage point increase from the national average. And 69% of small businesses are performing sales or other revenue-generating activities in the state, which is 9 percentage points behind the national average.

Just a little more than half of small businesses, 54%, are reporting lower sales.