Published Jul 09, 2020 by A.J. Mistretta
The short-term outlook among local companies has worsened in recent weeks as the number of COVID-19 cases has increased, and reopening efforts have been put on pause.
Nearly 30% of companies responding to the Partnership’s latest Business Barometer Survey say their outlook is worse this week than it was last week. Just 11% say their outlook is better this week compared with a week ago. Most (80%) of the companies that said their outlook is worse are small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Nearly 60% say their outlook is the same.
About 35% of respondents said their revenues have declined since their last billing cycle, up from 26% who reported such a decline a month ago. Sixteen percent said their revenues have increased since the last billing cycle, down from 22% who reported such an increase in June.
Nearly 34% of responding companies say their operations have been severely impacted by the pandemic while another 29% report a moderate impact on operations. Those figures remain unchanged from June.
Amid an increase in new COVID-19 cases across Texas, Governor Greg Abbott said on June 25 he was pausing reopening efforts statewide. He also closed down bars and nightclubs across the state and rolled back occupancy limits on restaurants from 75% to 50%. Today, the number of COVID-19 cases in the Houston region stands at 55,365. There were 2,065 confirmed new cases yesterday, July 8.
Asked about the impact of reopening efforts that began on May 1st, 7.6% of companies responding to the Partnership survey say they have reopened completely while another 38% say they have partially reopened. Nearly 10% say they have not reopened and nearly 45% report that they did not close.
About 67% of companies say they never furloughed or laid off employees while just 1% say they have recalled all employees that had been laid off or furloughed. About 32% say they have recalled all or some of their furloughed or laid employees.
About 54% of companies surveyed say they have received Paycheck Protection Program aid while another 10% of companies say they received an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Two percent of respondents say they applied for federal aid but have yet to receive an answer.
As cases have risen, a growing number of companies are not bringing employees back to the workplace. Only 6% of companies have recalled all of their employees since May 1. Forty-four percent have recalled some employees and 46% have not recalled any of their employees.
Asked when they expect to resume normal operations, nearly half of respondents say they expect it will take three months or longer, up from 28% a month ago. Roughly 28% of companies say they don’t know when normality will return.
A total of 98 companies responded to the 11th Houston Business Barometer survey conducted by the Partnership between July 6-8.
See results from Week 10.
Get information and guidelines on reopening businesses safely from the Partnership's Houston Work Safe Program. Visit the Partnership's COVID-19 Resource page for updates, guidance for employers and more information.