Jun 18, 2020

41% of Wisconsin Businesses Introduced or Expanded Online Services over the Last Three Months

Respondents to the third survey, administered June 1-13, represent more than 62,500 employees across the state.
Businesses responding to the third statewide COVID-19 Wisconsin Business Impact survey continue to demonstrate their resilience with 41 percent of respondents introducing or expanding online services over the last three months. Similarly, businesses continue to seek financial assistance, with 60 percent of respondents requesting assistance and 52.4 percent receiving aid. Estimates of business survivability have also increased, with only 10 percent of respondents estimating survivability of less than three months. 
“It will be important to continue to assess this measure throughout the summer,” said MadREP President Paul Jadin. “Many businesses will continue to operate with significant restrictions, and we need to understand the impact to appropriately respond and support those businesses, so they are able to survive.”
The June survey of businesses impacted by the effects of COVID-19 yielded 744 results, a significant decrease from the 1,126 responses received in May and 2,424 received in April. According to Jeffrey Sachse, interim director of the Center for Customized Research and Services, the decline in participation is attributed to two related issues. “We noted a strong correlation among businesses that reported low survivability and non-response in the May survey results. This trend continued this month.” Similarly, the survey period of June 1-13 correlates with the beginning of the summer tourism season and comes three weeks after the reopening of the state. A decrease in response was anticipated as business owners continue the process of resuming operations. The results shared here are estimated from self-reported data and is subject to a 3 percent margin of error.
In May 2020, responding businesses reported losses of:
  • $22.2 million in income loss
  • $6.4 million in inventory loss
  • $13.7 million in lost wages and productivity
  • $37.8 million in other economic losses
  • 2,648 lost positions 
Each of these figures mark a significant decrease from previous months. The inventory loss estimate is especially notable as it represents a 67 percent decrease when reported on a per firm basis. Income losses are 58 percent lower than May estimates on a per firm basis, but only 15 percent below April estimates. It is again important to note that May activity more closely resembles March in that businesses were able to operate more fully in roughly half of each month.
Most responding firms reported being open for business, with 14 percent needing additional resources to do so or deciding not to open. Five percent of responding firms also reported hiring staff in the past month. Many firms expect the losses attributed to the pandemic to continue through the remainder of 2020, with several firms reporting that losses are just beginning to appear.
 “The June Business Impact Survey results illustrate a business community that is reopening,” Sachse added. “Like any economic shock or natural disaster, the early days of this process have brought a reassessment of conditions and plans to move forward. Responding businesses have proven extremely resilient but challenges remain in tourism-driven and customer-facing industries. The July survey results will present a clearer picture of business in this ‘new normal.’” 
The July Business Impact Survey will be sent to responding businesses and partner organizations from July 1 to 12. The COVID-19 Business Impact Survey is a partnership of the Center for Customized Research and Services, the state’s nine Regional Development Organizations, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
Results can be found at uwosh.edu/ccrs/covid-19-survey.

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Jessica Reilly