May 20, 2020

32% of WI Businesses Surveyed Felt They Would Likely Survive Beyond Ten Months Under Current Conditions

Madison, WI – Most businesses responding to the second statewide COVID-19 Wisconsin Business Impact survey anticipate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to continue through 2020 and beyond.

While twenty-three percent of responding businesses reported not being able to remain open beyond three months if current conditions persist, 32 percent of respondents reported they would likely survive beyond 10 months under current conditions. Jeffrey Sachse, director of University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Center for Customized Research and Services (CCRS) indicates these data point to a “greater sense of resilience.”

Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) President Paul Jadin notes, “this longitudinal survey is an effort to assess how businesses are coping through the pandemic and the second observation has yielded some interesting changes from a month ago that will help inform the regional and state response.”

The survey was authored by MadREP in collaboration with its eight county partners and the State’s other eight regional economic development organizations. UW-Oshkosh administered the survey and the results continue to be shared with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) for the purposes of informing its COVID-19 response. Additional collaborators include the Wisconsin Technology Council and the Wisconsin Workforce Development Association.

Respondents to the second survey, administered between May 4 and 17, represent more than 67,000 employees across the state. The first survey ran April 1-10.

Key findings of the May survey include:

  • Respondents reported April losses of 9,816 employees due to layoffs and furloughs in addition to the 8,795 reported for March.
  • Businesses also reported losses of $28.8 million in inventory (62 percent decrease from April), $78.9 million in income (7.2 percent decrease from April), and losses in wages and productivity totaling $26 million (56 percent increase from April).
  • Businesses reported other financial impacts of $118.6 million (62 percent decrease from April).

It is important to note that all losses are considered cumulative.

“It is encouraging to see reductions in inventory and income losses, though respondents are less optimistic about their ability to recoup these losses. It will be equally critical to trace the survivability of vulnerable firms now that we have started to reopen the state’s economy,” Sachse said.

Sixty-five percent of businesses reported being open at the time of the May survey and an additional nine percent indicated they were confident in being able to re-open soon.

Additionally, this month’s survey asked two questions of interest to the Wisconsin Bankers Association and Wisconsin Technology Council.

Seventy-five percent of respondents reported seeking some form of financial assistance in the past month (Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan, etc.). Only 61 percent of respondents reported receiving assistance, Sachse said.

Respondents reported access to capital and customers remain their most pressing needs. The most pressing information technology workforce needs reported both before and during the crisis are in IT support (18.3 percent) and network operations (9.6 percent).

1,151 businesses responded to both the April and May surveys, representing a retention rate of 47.1 percent period over period. An additional 235 new businesses responded to the May survey. Data is reported with an error rate of plus or minus 3 percent based on a respondent pool of 452,000 active Wisconsin businesses.

CCRS also released statewide results by industry sector available online here.


For Further Information:

Jessica Reilly