A recent survey produced by the Mississippi Economic Council, Mississippi Manufacturers Association and Mississippi Economic Development Council polled Mississippi businesses to find out how they were doing since the COVID-19 shut down.
Just over 1,000 businesses in the state completed the survey which touched on how they have been impacted throughout the last two months.
In the survey, nearly 58 percent of businesses said they were deemed “essential” by the Governor’s executive order, but still saw negative impacts from the shut downs. However, on the positive side, many of those businesses were not forced to lay off workers during this time and have been able to function under certain safety measures.
Over 87 percent of businesses said they had seen negative impacts on their organization since it all began.
Over 40 percent of those polled said the shut down has had an 80 percent or more hit on their revenue for the last few months, while around 44 percent of businesses reported somewhere between 20 and 60 percent of revenue had been impacted.
Roughly 11 percent said there had been no impact.
“It is crystal clear from these survey responses that many of our businesses face incredible uncertainty because of this unprecedented health and economic crisis,” said John McKay, President and CEO of MMA. “This information should help our state’s leaders craft solutions that will be most impactful for our struggling businesses as we look to reopen our economy.”
Most businesses said they anticipated more negative impacts on revenue over the next 30 to 60 days, with 37 percent saying they expected over 80 percent of revenue to decrease, with others in the 20 to 40 percent range.
It appears that most businesses have not been forced to cut employment. Only 16 percent of businesses said they have had to cut employees 100 percent while over 42 percent saw no cuts at all. Most businesses said they were not planning to reduce staff or working hours (44%) but 33% of them have had to cut staff and hours already.
“The survey quantifies that COVID-19 had – and continues to have – a sweeping impact on our economy and state’s business climate, from large manufacturers to Main Street,” said Scott Waller, president and CEO of the MEC, the State’s Chamber of Commerce. “While everyone is eager to safely get back to work, there is concern of what the future brings and providing resources for our workers.”
Nearly all of the businesses have faced new restrictions whether it be face masks or refusal for access to the building and operating on carry out and pick up only. Over 83 percent have also limited non-employee access to their place of business.
The top areas of concern for businesses moving forward are decreased consumer confidence and spending, how long the shut down will last, financial impact on operations, reoccurring outbreaks, and workforce safety.
When it comes to unemployment and federal benefits for those who cannot return to work, businesses said most of their employees have not received the stimulus check yet.
Over 30 percent of the businesses polled reported a staff of less than five employees in February and were primarily located in Central Mississippi.
“Data and feedback are critical as the Governor’s Commission and the state move forward in developing a plan for economic recovery,” said Mary Swoope, executive director of MEDC. “Our professional economic developers and chamber of commerce executives were eager to utilize their network of business contacts to quickly collect information about the impact the pandemic has had on our existing employers. I am pleased MEDC can be part of this collaboration and helping our state’s economy to recover.”
Additions findings in the survey include:
• 47 percent of the total respondents reported current employment decreases, with a further 42 percent stating no impact on staffing to date (not yet making staff adjustments, either number or hours, or both)
• 70 percent expect additional revenue losses over the next 30 to 60 days, and 46 percent anticipate staff reductions in the next 30 to 60 days
• 71 percent have placed restrictions on employees entering workplace, and 84 percent are restricting non-employees entering the workplace
• 49 percent said none of their employees can work remotely
• 37 percent of the organizations reported receiving benefits from the stimulus program
Read the full report below: