Survey Reveals How COVID-19 Crisis is Impacting Businesses in Delaware

Delaware Prosperity Partnership and economic development partners throughout Delaware’s three counties have launched a survey to assess how Delaware businesses are being affected by the COVID-19 crisis. According to DPP economic research director John Taylor, conducting this baseline research and then going back into the market to continue to survey will help inform all of Delaware’s economic development partners about what Delaware businesses are experiencing and how DPP might pivot to support them. 

DPP will share the survey results with a national economic development survey now under way. Doing so will ensure that Delaware’s experience is documented nationally and will help inform the national dialogue on COVID-19 and business.

Kurt Foreman, president and CEO of DPP, is encouraged by how Delaware economic development partners have supported the survey.

“In this unprecedented time of challenge and crisis, 320 businesses from throughout all three counties invested the time to take the survey,” Foreman said. “This information provides an important baseline that we can continue to track as we navigate COVID-19 in Delaware.”

The first survey was conducted March 20 to 24, before non-essential businesses closed. The second survey will be in the field the week of March 30.

Some key points from the first round of the survey include: 

  • Responses were well-distributed geographically throughout the state.
  • All key Delaware industry sectors were represented.
  • The accommodation and food services industry accounted for about one-quarter of job losses among survey respondents, but other local services industries like arts, entertainment and recreation; retail trade; and other services also had notable job losses.
  • The healthcare sector reported job losses among chiropractors, physical therapists and dental and eye care.
  • 72 percent of respondents indicated that their revenue has decreased, with revenues down across all industries. More than 90 percent of accommodation and food services respondents saw revenue declines of more than 70 percent. Finance and insurance; information; professional, scientific and technical services; real estate; and construction reported decreases in the 20 to 50 percent range.

Resiliency During the COVID-19 Crisis

On average, respondents indicated they could survive the current business slowdown/closure for about 13 weeks. However, this average includes some larger companies that could weather the slowdown much longer, as well as small businesses that could only survive a few weeks. A total of 54 percent of respondents indicated that they do not have standing lines of credit to help bridge this business slowdown. Chief among the top concerns expressed by respondents was access to capital. Respondents also expressed a fear of recession and decreased consumer confidence and spending. 

DPP and its economic development partners statewide will continue to survey businesses for updates.

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