Wisconsin businesses report gains, caution regarding travel in latest UW-Oshkosh survey


(WFRV) – Wisconsin businesses are reporting gains rather than losses, according to the most recent University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh COVID-19 impact survey.

According to UW-Oshkosh, businesses responding to the fourth statewide survey showed gains rather than losses on several key indicators, but expressed extreme caution in their businesses and personal travel plans.

“Among top-line impacts, the July survey showed significant growth over previous months, largely reflecting businesses operating in a fully open but constrained environment,” said Jeffrey Sachse, interim director of UWO’s Center for Customized Research and Services (CCRS).

In July, responding businesses reported:

  • Inventory gains of $3.38 million
  • Income gains of $11.29 million
  • Wage and productivity gains of $4.18 million
  • Other financial impacts of $7.2 million

UW-Oshkosh reports firms also added 249 new staff members during the month.

“We started to see the early indications of economic recovery in June,” Sachse said. “The July survey results show both the scale and fragility of that recovery. While businesses are reporting growth, more than half of the businesses responding to the survey reported continued losses or no change.”

More than half of responding businesses reported survivability of seven months or more in the recent round of surveys. Despite this, there are ongoing areas of concern – 55 percent continued to apply for financial assistance last month and 17 percent continued to expand their online profile.

The most recent survey is the first time respondents were asked to share their perspectives on business and personal travel during the coronavirus pandemic. UW-Oshkosh reports 65 percent of respondents are eliminating all non-essential travel for the rest of 2020 and more than one-third say they are already deciding to do the same in 2021.

Personal travel has decreased for 70 percent of participants.

When asked to reassess their comfort with working from home, 43 percent reported some level of comfort with their business’s ability to return to work from home if needed. A quarter of businesses reported being extremely uncomfortable with returning to working from home, according to UW-Oshkosh, a significant change from the first survey when most businesses reported less than 50 percent productivity in their remote workforce.

UW-Oshkosh says they received a total of 615 responses to the July survey. Full results can be found at UW-Oshkosh’s website.

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