November Survey Results: Nearly 30% of employers plan to hire in the next month

The Central Coast Coalition of Chambers has released results from their monthly survey on COVID-19 impacts to businesses. Since May, nearly 2,400 businesses between San Miguel and Solvang have responded, allowing the Coalition to track sentiment and changes over the seven-month period.

The most recent bi-monthly survey ran from November 9-30, with the most recent statewide rollbacks being issued on November 16. Respondents were asked to share their overall sentiment, changes in revenue and what they want their local government to focus on. The survey results have tracked with the loosening and tightening of statewide restrictions.

Even amidst the rollbacks on reopening, a promising insight revealed itself with nearly thirty percent of businesses reporting they will hire someone in the next month. More than eighty percent reported the job would be entry level with another majority reporting the role would be entirely on site (73.33%).

 When asked about their largest concern related to COVID-19, “Negative impact on my job/income/business” is at the top, increasing nine points since May (22.22%). “Not knowing how long the situation will last” is now the second highest concern, but has dropped more than 11 points in the same time period. Respondents' third and fourth concerns are the health of themselves and their family (16.07%) and the local economy (13.39%).

Many families started the 20-21 academic year uncertain of what their school/child care plan would be, with 40% of respondents in August reporting they were “Unsure/Still figuring it out”. As of November, only 22.22% of respondents report being unsure, with the majority reporting being able to work remotely or have a flexible schedule (44.44%). Additionally, nearly half of all employers reported making adjustments for workplace child care considerations.

More than eight months into this pandemic, an overwhelming majority of respondents still feel unsure and believe that “the economy will be impacted for 6-12 months or longer and will stagnate or show slow growth thereafter.” However, the end of a contentious presidential campaign and news of successful vaccine trials might also be the reason that those who are feeling pessimistic have declined nearly 6 points from August.

“For the first time since March, the majority of businesses are describing their business conditions as poor or catastrophic,” said Jim Dantona, Chair of the Central Coast Coalition of Chambers. “With the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, our business community is feeling the uncertainty and stress of potential closures. Our businesses need us to continue being diligent about staying healthy, so we can eliminate restrictions and reopen fully and safely.”

While many businesses are still struggling through the current economic conditions, those reporting a more than 50% loss in revenue have dropped by nearly 20 points since May. Subsequently, businesses reporting an increase in revenue had jumped nearly 13 points as of early November with a decline of eight points coming after the mid-November State rollbacks on reopening. About 10% of businesses have consistently reported “No noticeable change” in revenue since March.

“It comes as no surprise that one of the greatest needs businesses are facing is revenue and cash flow,” said Gina Fitzpatrick, President and CEO of the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce. “Our members have also made it clear that advocating for policies in support of business is high on their priority list, which is exactly what we will continue to do to help them pivot and survive these challenging times.”

About the The Coalition of Central Coast Chambers:
The Coalition of Central Coast Chambers is made up of chambers of commerce in both San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara County, which currently include: Atascadero Chamber, Buellton Chamber, Cambria Chamber, Lompoc Chamber, Morro Bay Chamber, Paso Robles Chamber, San Luis Obispo Chamber, Santa Maria Valley Chamber, Solvang Chamber and South County Chambers. CHAIR: Jim Dantona - CEO, San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce