UWO survey: Businesses brace for months of struggles

Posted on Oct 28, 2020 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive
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Posted by of Insight Publications

Uncertainty grows for Wisconsin business leaders as they expect another 12 to 18 months of impact from the COVID-19 virus and hold little hope for further government assistance.

Results of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh’s October COVID-19 business and economic impact survey also reveal a rekindled concern regarding long-term viability, said Jeffrey Sachse, interim director of UWO’s Center for Customized Research and Services.

“The latest survey indicates 8.8 percent of responding businesses estimate viability of no more than three months,” he said. “The decrease in business confidence is again largely a function of the uncertainty that has defined economic activity under the pandemic. As the state and its communities continue to tackle the challenge of the pandemic in different ways, we should expect to continue to see similar levels of uncertainty.”

Responding Wisconsin business owners reported the following changes in the past month: $1.4 million in income losses, $218,000 in inventory losses, $838,000 in lost wages and productivity, 1,907 lost positions, and $3.2 million in other financial gains.

The October results continue to show the renewed downward trend observed last month with some exceptions, Sachse said. Businesses continue to report other financial gains generally associated with future activity, suggesting that they may be exchanging current revenue for future revenue. He added that 42 percent of respondents believe that they will be dealing with the pandemic for at least the next year, with 14 percent suggesting the impact will continue through 2022 and beyond.

Similarly, business respondents believe that the state’s economy will begin to recover in the latter half of next year, with 34 percent suggesting the economy may recover to pre-pandemic levels in the second half of 2021 and 31 percent seeing recovery in 2022.