A survey conducted by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association finds that 93% of members who responded either are already negatively impacted by the coronavirus health crisis or anticipate being negatively impacted in the near future.
At the same time, most respondents say they will need to cut costs due to coronavirus-related hardships, including a reduction of staff, hours, benefits and other remedies.
Members also described in detail their most critical issues, showing a vast number of impacts from businesses from varying industries.
“The concerns of our members are extremely clear during this unprecedented time,” said NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka. “They are highly concerned about the overall stability of their businesses and the welfare of their employees.
“We are pleased to see the efforts of our policymakers and our state agencies, thus far, to address the economic impacts the coronavirus is having on our job creators and their workers. As these plans and protections are gathered and expedited, it is critically important to recognize how the uncertainty and vulnerability of our employers impacts our overall economy in New Jersey.”
When asked to what extent has your business been negatively impacted by the coronavirus:
- 54% said they have already been negatively impacted
- 39% said they anticipate being negatively impacted in the near future
- 7% said they do not anticipate being negatively impacted
When asked how they will respond to the negative business impacts caused by the coronavirus (respondents could select any or all options that applied):
- 40% said they will need to reduce staff
- 37% said they will need to reduce employee hours
- 12% said they will need to reduce benefits
- 24% said they will do nothing
Another 37% listed “other” additional remedies to accommodate the impacts including: needing to temporarily close; relying on personal savings and credit to pay bills; negotiating with vendors, landlords and utility companies; adjusting service levels; reducing expenses; increasing spending on cleaning and disinfecting; increasing remote working.
In separate questions, a majority of respondents said they were unsure, at this juncture, whether they would need gap loans or waivers of workplace compliance requirements due to the fiscal impacts brought on by the response to the coronavirus.
Most critical issues
NJBIA also asked members to explain what the most critical issues to their business are as the association works with policymakers and state agencies on responses to address the economic impacts of the coronavirus.
A few notable entries from the hundreds of responses included:
- “Trying to keep up with payroll, taxes, health ins., vehicle ins., fuel, worker’s comp ins., vehicle payments, vehicle registrations, and all State associated fees with licenses and registrations. If we can’t access the customer’s property and/or an employee gets the illness, this will put us out of business.”
- “Besides health of employees, worry about supply chain interruptions. If say UPS goes down, how will I deliver products? What if my suppliers are closed?”
- “Unable to provide home based services as usual.”
- “Business customers and my employees being able to work if kids are home from school.”
- “Personal protective equipment for my team of healthcare workers. We can’t get level 3 masks right now.”
- “Cash flow if sales decline.”
- “The phone has stopped ringing, people are not spending money.”
- “Access to short-term financing.”
- “As a supplier of printed material for many local NJ businesses, we are expecting a significant loss of revenue due to cancellations of events, trade shows, etc.”
These survey results were fielded from 336 respondents from March 13-15. NJBIA will keep the survey open to its members to acquire additional input.
“We want to ensure that we are relaying these impacts in real time and working with our members and all levels of state government to bring the assistance needed to secure New Jersey’s workforce and economy,” Siekerka said. “We also continue to update our comprehensive resource page at www.njbia.org/coronavirus.”