Early weeks of Safer at Home cost New North businesses $40M in income

Posted on Apr 24, 2020 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive
Posted by of Insight Publications

The COVID-19 pandemic cost surveyed New North businesses an estimated $40 million in income during the first weeks after Gov. Tony Evers gave his Safer at Home order.

Those numbers are part of the statewide survey conducted by New North Inc. and the eight other regional organizations in the state, along with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. On Wednesday, statewide numbers showed 35 percent predicted having to close if current conditions persisted past three months, businesses reported losses of $126 million in income and $95 million in inventory, and 8,795 jobs were lost.

Jeffrey Sachse, interim director of the Center for Customized Research and Services at UW-Oshkosh, pulled out the numbers specific to the region. In the New North, 840 businesses responded to the survey reporting:

  • $40 million in total income loss
  • $47 million loss in inventory
  • $3.03 million loss in lost wages and productivity
  • 1,082 full-time equivalent employees were laid off

When it came to predicting how long their businesses could be viable under the current circumstances, about 29 percent responded “one to three months” followed by about 23 percent answering “impossible to say.”

Businesses overwhelmingly responded “sales tax deferral” when asked what their pressing need was in trying to stay afloat.

“While we know the survey results are a sampling of Wisconsin-based companies, the data suggests that prompt action must be taken to assist companies with financial support and the restart of in-person customer access as soon as medically possible,” said New North Executive Director Barb LaMue. “The information is helpful to develop recovery action plans, first for the most vulnerable, and to work with our state and local partners throughout this process.”

The survey was conducted statewide covering the period April 1-10. Additional surveys will be conducted the first weeks of May, June, July and for the foreseeable future with results being reported in the third week of each month. Businesses are invited to continue to respond to the initial survey at http://uwo.sh/covid-19-econ-disruption and be added to the survey group.