AEDC Shares Insights from Its Recent COVID Business Impact Survey
The results of AEDC’s latest COVID-19 Business Impact Survey show the effects of operational changes, supply chain interruptions, and more.
Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) released the results of its latest COVID-19 Business Impact Survey, showing effects—and limited signs of recovery—from COVID-19 operational changes, supply chain interruptions, and more. These results are a sampling of a broad range of businesses, providing a moment-in-time snapshot of what is going on in the business community. The survey is informal and based on respondents’ self-selection of whether to participate or to answer all the questions.
Questions were formulated by AEDC staff in partnership with the McDowell Group.
“We have a long way to go to get back to ‘business as usual.’ We’re seeing lingering impacts to revenue, employment, supply chains, and vendor relationships,” said Bill Popp, AEDC President and CEO. “While many businesses have overcome the initial challenges of COVID-related closures and more, what we see in the data is continuing uncertainty around next steps.”
“As we head into another long Alaska winter, we still have an urgent need for additional business support, including CARES Act funding, extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, and unemployment assistance. We will need as much help as possible, for businesses and workers alike, to assure we have a solid economic base to stand on in the spring of 2021.”
The survey ran from August 14-21 with 195 responses. Overall results included:
- 85% of respondents said they experienced disruption due to COVID-19—primarily resulting in changing work patterns (shift to remote work) and impacts to sales and revenue, with a number of businesses reporting they have laid off staff as well.
- Industry data indicated that the sectors most impacted (by response to “Have you experienced any disruption in business due to COVID-19?”) are health care (100%), tourism (100%), wholesale/retail (100%), non-profit (89%), construction (90%), and transportation (92%).
- While 9% of total respondents said they closed permanently due to COVID-19, 21% of respondents from the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate said they had closed permanently—the highest rate of permanent closure in responding industry sectors.
- Nearly 70% of survey respondents reported a decline in revenue, with 20% saying the decline was between 10 and 20%.
- Employment: across all industries, 43% of businesses reported having made employment reductions; when asked whether they expect to make employment cuts in the future, 12% said yes and 46% said no. Notably, 40% said they didn’t know, evidence that significant uncertainty still looms in the local employment market.
- Supply chains and vendor relationships are showing signs of recovery, with 57% of respondents who indicated that they had experienced supply chain disruptions reporting they were “partially recovered” and 92% of respondents with impacted vendor/service provider relationships reporting they were also “partially recovered.”
- Positive news: when asked if their business was at risk of closing permanently due to COVID-19, 80% of businesses replied “no.”
- AEDC, in partnership with Alaska Pacific University, added a new question to determine small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) strategies for survival. Businesses were asked “what leadership and employee skills, tools, and knowledge that have helped or will help sustain your business?” Most common among those selected were creative problem-solving (68%), leadership during crisis (66%), and financial planning and analysis (54%).
Online survey responses were solicited via direct email, AEDC’s electronic newsletter, and the communications arm of the Mayor’s Economic Resiliency Task Force, which AEDC co-chairs.
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Spreading the Word
When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.