Lafayette’s oil and gas industry is facing existential challenges that far outstrip the short-term subsidies being offered by the federal government’s coronavirus stimulus package.
The gist: Acadiana’s businesses already feel widespread economic pain, according to a survey conducted by a coalition of local economic development and community organizations, including LEDA, One Acadiana and more. Of roughly 1,000 local businesses surveyed between March 19 and March 25, 91% expected revenue to decline.
91% of respondents expect revenue to be down. 72% of all respondents say they expect revenue to be down significantly.
The majority of respondents have already seen their businesses hurt, with order cancellations and decreased demand. As a result, a majority of respondents are watching spending closely and adjusting work schedules.
35% have already reduced staff or expect to. Another 32.7% are unsure if they’ll need to do that. An average of 64% have already reduced operational hours, shifts, work days, and/or wages, with that number increasing to 88% for those businesses who responded on the last day the survey was live.
More than 20% said they couldn’t make it a month given current economic conditions. Some couldn’t make it another week. Nearly half of businesses were unsure how long they could hold out. Here’s a breakdown based on how much longer they felt they could stay open given current conditions:
- 7% one week
- 22.2% one month
- 8.8% six months
- 2.3% other
- 45.1% unsure how long
- 14.5% other
Respondents encompassed a variety of types, industries, and sizes of businesses, with more than half having 1-10 employees, more than 70% being located in Lafayette Parish.
The federal stimulus could help local businesses navigate these choppy waters. This survey was conducted before the federal stimulus package was passed, part of which is designed to keep small businesses afloat for a couple of months. Some of the responses to this survey referenced their hope this would keep them alive. The forgivable loans available to small businesses to retain staff are starting to take applications today.
This coalition plans on conducting another survey in mid-April to track the ongoing impact of COVID-19. Full results of this first survey can be seen here.
The ambitious $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program passed by Congress one week ago to help small businesses weather the coronavirus crisis rolls out this morning amid confusion and mixed signals.
Updated federal guidelines for the program were not issued until late Thursday night in a 31-page “interim final rules” document, just hours before the PPP was supposed to begin accepting applications, and most banks are still not ready.