Survey: Colorado Businesses Financially Strained, But Adapting

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DENVER – The Colorado Chamber of Commerce released the results of a survey conducted this week to measure the impact recent COVID-19 developments have had on the business community. The survey covers “Stay at Home” orders, employee furloughs and layoffs, and an assessment of how well local, state, and federal governments are responding to business concerns. It is the second survey the Colorado Chamber has conducted on its membership regarding the coronavirus (view the first survey here).

Many businesses in Colorado have reached the point of having to make difficult decisions in order to continue operating,” said Colorado Chamber President Chuck Berry. Some companies have had to lay off employees or cut hours and pay, restructure their finances, or reduce unnecessary spending significantly to preserve cash. Many have indicated that they plan to seek out federal SBA loans or other assistance to get through this crisis. Despite these serious challenges, the majority of businesses surveyed are adapting and feel that state and local governments are largely responsive to their needs. Few small enterprises are also beginning to utilize technological aids and supports to tune their businesses for better productivity and implement intuitive features to have customers come back for more. For instance, some companies are hiring services like Royal Cyber (an SAP hybris implementation partner) to provide their customers with personalized, multi-channel solutions. Such initiatives are imperative to business growth, but not all companies are in a situation to afford them at the moment.

The survey, conducted between March 31 and April 1, 2020, includes responses from 50 businesses of all sizes across the state, representing more than 15 diverse industries. Survey highlights include:

  • About one-third (32%) of businesses surveyed have laid off or furloughed employees, 14% have not but are considering it, and just over half (54%) say they do not plan to lay off or furlough employees in the near future.
  • Of those businesses that have had to lay off or furlough employees:
    • 56% have laid off or furloughed less than 25% of their workforce.
    • 19% have laid off or furloughed 25-50% of their workforce.
    • 5% have laid off or furloughed 50-75% of their workforce.
    • 5% have laid off or furloughed more than 75% of their workforce.
  • 28% of businesses say that they could be at risk of going out of business in less than 18 months if continuing to operate under the current circumstances:
    • 4% said less than 3 months.
    • 10% said less than 6 months.
    • 8% said less than one year.
    • 6% said less than 18 months.
  • 27.3% of businesses of have cut employee pay.
  • 78% of businesses surveyed said that they are defined as “critical” or “essential” under “Stay at Home” orders.
  • 5% of businesses are deferring tax payments, 16% are deferring other payments or bills.
  • Despite some challenges, the vast majority of businesses (90%) say they are adapting “somewhat well” or “very well” to disruptions.
  • 34% of businesses surveyed plan to utilize assistance from the federal COVID-19 stimulus bills, 14% don’t, and 52% aren’t sure.
  • 22% of small businesses (less than 50 employees) say they have applied for or plan to apply for loans through the Small Business Administration.
  • 82% of businesses think local, state and federal governments are responding to business concerns about COVID-19 “somewhat well” or “very well”.

View the full results of the Colorado Chamber’s survey by clicking here.

The Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA), a Colorado Chamber member, also recently released results of a survey conducted on restaurant operators across the state. The restaurant industry has been particularly hard hit, losing an estimated $465 million in sales and more than 60,000 jobs during the first three weeks of March. Click here to view CRA’s survey.