Business survey results a 'stark indicator' of hard times

May 6, 2020

Most local businesses say they are taking a financial hit due to the pandemic. A new survey of more than 1,800 companies across Western New York finds 93% of respondents are experiencing a decline in revenue. 

Dottie Gallagher, President and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, which conducted the survey, said "the results are not shocking, but they are a stark indicator of how much work lies ahead for the public and private sectors as our community pivots to recovery."

The WNY COVID-19 Business Impact Survey also shows three out of five businesses have postponed investment, two out of three report reducing positions or adjusting wages or salaries, and 60% have implemented a hiring freeze.

In reaching for a positive aspect of the survey, Gallagher examined those companies which have reduced staffing since the pandemic began.

"Seventy-three percent of them described them as temporary layoffs or furloughs. So, we see that as a positive in the sense that businesses aren't eliminating positions permanently and closing up shop," Gallagher said.

While the economic damage is certainly widespread, the survey shows some entities are suffering more than others.

"The smaller the business, the greater the risk. All the way down to sole proprietors who are at the greatest risk, obviously," said Gallagher, noting how many stimulus programs aren't targeted toward the smallest of businesses.

"That's going to be where a lot of the heavy lifting is going to be for us as a community. We have to be really creative about what we can do beyond what will be available from the federal government."