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.
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