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Houston Business Barometer Week 2: 30% Say Outlook Has Worsened, Nearly Half Under Hiring Freeze

Published Apr 15, 2020 by A.J. Mistretta

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Small business executives are most worried about revenue and their employees’ well-being, according to the latest member survey conducted by the Greater Houston Partnership. 

A total of 140 small business companies responded to the second Houston Business Barometer survey conducted by the Partnership between April 13-14. The number of respondents who have instituted work-from-home practices in their company climbed to 93.8% (up from 84% last week), while 24.6% have shut down whole or partial operations (up from 22.5% last week). 

Nearly half (47.1%) of responding companies said they had enacted a hiring freeze (up from 36% a week ago), and 53.6% indicated their revenues have declined since their last billing cycle (down a bit from 56.7%). 

When asked about their firm’s short-term outlook during the week that ended April 11 compared with the previous week, 30.7% indicated it had gotten worse and another 42.1% said there was no change. 

Asked how the fallout from the pandemic has impacted their operations, 41% said their operations have been severely impacted (down from 53.3% a week earlier) while 34.5% said the impact has been moderate (up from 28.9%). 

Respondent firms’ top three concerns were revenue/sales (85.7%), employee well-being (67.9%) and profits (66.4%). 

The following breaks down how long firms now believe they could remain afloat based on projected cash flow and without federal assistance:
 

Time Period                       Respondents
1-2 weeks                          0.0%
3-4 weeks                          4.3%
5-6 weeks                          4.3%
7-8 weeks                         10%
3-6 months                        19.3%
Longer than 6 months      50.7%
Don’t know                        11.4%

See results from Week 1

Visit the Partnership's COVID-19 Resource page for updates, guidance for employers and more information. And sign up for daily email alerts from the Partnership as the situation develops. 

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