Only 31 percent of CEOs expect the New York state economy to return to pre-virus levels of revenue and employment within the next six months according to a special Upstate New York Business Leader COVID-19 Survey from Siena College Research Institute (SCRI), sponsored by the Business Council of New York State, Inc. released in April.
Similarly, while only 5 percent have not suffered due to the virus and 35 percent think that their business will recover within six months, a quarter say by the end of 2020 and 35 percent don’t think their business will return to pre-virus levels until 2021.
“The results of this poll showed what many expected; businesses are hurting, especially smaller businesses and those in sectors whose operations have been most impacted by the reasonable state-imposed restrictions. Perhaps the most encouraging result showed employers expect their own companies and their industry sectors to recovery by early 2021,” said Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State. “At The Business Council we will continue to work with our elected leaders to convey the needs of the business community for a successful economic restart, recognizing that this will only be done as fast as public health considerations allow.
“The good news is, there’s real opportunity for New York state to partner with the private sector, who understands what it will require to ensure a stronger economy moving forward.”
The poll said 57 percent of upstate CEOs say New York’s primary focus should be addressing the public health crisis for the time being while 35 percent think New York state should plan to relax restrictions on business operations and move towards being back in business by the first of May, according to the poll.
Current expectations for revenues and profits, because of COVID-19, compared to 2020 projections are down significantly. Eighty-nine percent predict somewhat (32 percent) or significantly (57 percent) less revenue, and 87 percent forecast somewhat (27 percent) or significantly (60 percent) less profits. Forty percent have already laid off employees and an additional eight percent anticipate more layoffs by Aug. 1.
Fifty-eight percent plan to purchase fewer fixed assets in 2020.
“Despite having to lay off workers and downgrade economic projections, a majority of upstate CEOs agree with the sentiment expressed by one CEO: ‘people and health first, the economy can wait.’ The good news is that virtually all the CEOs we interviewed expect their business to survive this crisis. And 61 percent think that New York state’s ‘social distancing’ efforts, including restrictions on business operations in order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 have been about right,” said SCRI’s Director Dr. Don Levy.
The poll said 46 percent of upstate CEOs are confident that New York State government will take the appropriate steps to assist businesses to weather the impacts of COVID-19 while 50 percent are not very or not at all confident. More, 59 percent, are confident that the federal government will take the appropriate steps to assist businesses recover from the virus’ effects.
Eighty-six percent are somewhat (45 percent) or very (41 percent) familiar with the new and expanded U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan provisions. Nearly three-quarters, 72 percent, plan to participate in the SBA Paycheck Protection Program while 26 percent plan to participate in the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.
“This virus has turned life upside down for virtually every New York business, just as it has for nearly every New Yorker. Almost every CEO took steps to protect staff and clients from the virus, more than three-quarters have employees working from home, two-thirds have cancelled planned initiatives and almost half have borrowed in order to meet ongoing expenses,” Levy said.
The the poll results “showed what many expected. Businesses are hurting, especially smaller businesses and those in sectors whose operations have been most impacted by the reasonable state-imposed restrictions. Perhaps the most encouraging result showed employers expect their own companies and their industry sectors to recovery by early 2021,” said Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State.