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LVEDC Reports Initial Findings From Survey of COVID-19 Economic Impacts

By Colin McEvoy on March 24, 2020

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) issued a survey last week inviting Lehigh Valley employers to provide information about the impact of COVID-19 and mitigation efforts on the regional economy and their businesses.

The survey concluded on March 22, and the initial results have been compiled and are being analyzed. This was not a scientific survey, but rather a pulse survey that serves as an initial effort to assess the effects of this pandemic on the regional economy and to assess business needs.

A total of 328 employers in Lehigh and Northampton counties participated in the survey. A few of the primary initial findings can be found below:

  • 90.9% of employers surveyed said they have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and mitigation efforts.
  • A total of 64.5% of the employers who completed the survey reported an immediate decrease in business revenues by more than 10%. (See below)
  • 88.5% of companies from the arts, entertainment, accommodation & food services industry reported a greater than 10% drop in revenue. Other sectors include retail (86.7%) and construction (85.7%).
  • 34.5% of employers surveyed reported the loss of sales as the single most significant impact of the pandemic. 15.2% of respondents said it was a decreased demand for services, and 14% said it was workplace disruptions. (See below)
  • Among the retail sector specifically, nearly 67% of respondents reported the loss of sales as the single biggest impact of the pandemic.
  • When asked how mitigation efforts have affected their workforce, 33.6% of employers reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in layoffs. 32% reported a reduction in work hours, while 28.4% answered there had been no effect on the workforce. (See below)
  • A total of 57% of respondents have directed some or all of their employees to work from home; 43% of respondents have not, at least initially. (See below)
  • A majority of employers (40.2%) who participated in the survey have 1-9 employees. This is reflective of the regional economy as a whole; according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 67% of the more than 15,000 businesses in Lehigh and Northampton counties have fewer than 10 employees. (See below)
  • Among the comments written directly by employers in the survey, some of the most common recurring statements include:
    • The need for zero- and low-interest loans due to cash flow problems
    • Guidance about how to apply for SBA loans and other financings
    • Help communicating that firms are open, but with employees working remotely
    • Clarity on the new rules surrounding sick time and paid time off (PTO)
    • Assistance with transitioning into employees working from remotely home

Visit our COVID-19 information and resource page for more details at lehighvalley.org/covid19. Additionally, click here to access new and previous blog posts by LVEDC related to the coronavirus outbreak.

SEE ALSO: Financing Options Available for Lehigh Valley Businesses Affected by COVID-19

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