Childcare potential hurdle for Wisconsin businesses, says latest COVID-19 impact survey

Coronavirus

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) – Childcare could be the next hurdle for Wisconsin businesses, according to the latest coronavirus economic impact research by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

In the university’s fifth statewide survey, 43% of responding business leaders say they believe their local district’s plans would have a significant impact on workforce availability.

According to Jeffrey Sachse, interim director of UWO’s Center for Customized Research and Services, another one third of respondents were still unsure about the impact.

“This comes as most businesses report fewer than a quarter of their employees normally face
childcare needs with typical accommodations including scheduling changes or flexible hours,”
Sachse said. “This is poised to again be a significant issue as businesses generally are ill-equipped
to offer other accommodations at the same time that the state’s childcare infrastructure is strained
beyond capacity.”

In the latest survey, businesses representing 39,705 employees across Wisconsin responded to the survey. For the month of July, they reported:

  • Income gains of $5.7 million
  • Inventory gains of $4.7 million
  • Wage and productivity gains of $2.5 million
  • Other financial losses of $1 million

“The August survey results again point to a business community that is recovering, though recovery
slowed significantly from the June reopening. Employment gains also slowed despite a declining
state unemployment rate, suggesting that firms are either unable to add additional staff or are
hesitant to do so given ongoing uncertainties,” Sachse said.

Businesses continue to express concerns regarding customer traffic, according to the survey, while anticipating additional rounds of financial assistance even as their interest in currently available programs fade.

UW-Oshkosh’s fourth survey, which was held during July, showed gains rather than losses on several key indicators but expressed extreme caution in their businesses and personal travel plans. Survey results in June showed only 10% of respondents estimated their business wouldn’t survive the next three months, down from over 30% in April.

Additional results can be found on UW-Oshkosh’s website.

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