Latest Survey Results Show Effects of Coronavirus on Acadiana Economy
LAFAYETTE, La. – In mid-April, a second COVID-19 Business Impact Survey was conducted through a joint effort of business resource partners including One Acadiana, Lafayette Economic Development Authority, Acadiana Workforce Solutions, Acadiana Society for Human Resource Management, United Way of Acadiana, and other local chambers and economic development offices from around the Acadiana region.
The survey was completed by nearly 500 businesses and is a follow-up to a similar survey conducted in March. In both the March and April surveys about 90% of businesses indicate they expect their revenue or sales will be down because of COVID-19.
About half of businesses indicate they are open to some degree, but most have put modifications in place. The most common adjustments to operations are reduction of face-to-face interaction (60%), focus on disinfection (48%), and remote work (47%). Businesses also indicate a range of changes to their use of social media and online presence. Even with these changes, more than half of respondents indicate they are unsure how long their business can continue to survive, a slightly larger number than respondents to the March survey.
Businesses continue to note a high level of uncertainty about their workforce. A slightly lower percentage of respondents to the April survey indicate they have reduced staff or are considering laying off workers as compared to the March survey. In March, over one-third of businesses reported they had or were considering laying off workers with an additional one-third not sure. In comparison, about 30% of the respondents to the April survey indicate they may or already have laid off staff and about 25% are not sure. The majority of respondents to both surveys signal those numbers would be five employees or fewer, yet a small number of businesses in both surveys estimate layoffs had or could impact over 100 of their employees.
Beyond their concern about retaining their workforce, COVID-19 is impacting businesses in many ways. Similar to the March survey, in the April survey businesses indicated the following three areas as their top concerns: (1) Watching spending closely, 69%; (2) Canceling events and purchase orders, 55%; and (3) Adjusting work schedules and locations, 50%.
Acadiana businesses have taken advantage of loan and resource programs. About 73% of businesses applied for the Paycheck Protection Program and about 32% applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Smaller numbers have applied for other assistance programs.
“It’s clear the mandates, regulations, and safety measures necessary to contain the spread of coronavirus are leaving a wide swath of economic damage in their wake,” said One Acadiana President and CEO Troy Wayman. “In this highly fluid environment, we are proud to work alongside our business community as they continue to adapt and innovate, learn what works and what doesn’t, and adjust as they go. We will continue to track these trends as we evolve our recovery strategy and chart a course forward to a prosperous future.”
“The results from this survey plainly illustrate that businesses in the region are in danger if the economy stalls. We must do everything we can do to get businesses reopened and people back to work,” said LEDA President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux. “The only way to get out of this situation, as a nation, is to work our way out. We will continue to support our business community to make sure they have the information and tools needed to resume operations safely and quickly.”
A joint effort of chambers of commerce, economic development, non-profit, and workforce development organizations from around the Acadiana region, the survey was open from April 20 May 4, 2020. Over half of survey respondents were small businesses and most respondents operate in Lafayette Parish.
Click on the link below for an overview of the survey results.
(Press release sent to KPEL News)