Only a third of upstate business leaders expect the New York economy will return to the way it was prior to the coronavirus pandemic within the next six months, a Siena College poll released on Thursday found.
The poll found only five percent of businesses have not suffered due to the virus and the virtual shutdown of the state’s economy as a result of preventing the spread.
But overall, the of 307 business leaders conducted this month are split over what the long-term damage will be from the virus to the economy.
The poll found 35 percent of CEOs think their business will recover within half a year and 25 percent by the end of the year. Thirty-five percent do not expect a recovery until 2021.
Businesses deemed non-essential have shuttered for the last month, with restaurants, bars, movie theaters closed and millions of people put out of work.
Essential businesses, too, have struggled amid the virus to protect their workers and maintain revenue.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo in recent days has said he is exploring ways of re-opening the economy, which is be done on a gradual basis by identifying industries that should be essential to operate.
But the damage has been severe for businesses.
Forty percent of businesses have already laid off workers, while eight percent expect to do further job reductions by August. And more than half, 58 percent, say they plan to purchase fewer assets this year.
“Despite having to lay off workers and downgrade economic projections, a majority of upstate CEOs agree with the sentiment expressed by one CEO: ‘people and health first, the economy can wait,’ said Siena College polling director Don Levy. “The good news is that virtually all the CEOs we interviewed expect their business to survive this crisis.”
The survey, backed by The New York State Business Council and upstate chambers of commerce, was not wholly surprising, said Business Council President Heather Briccetti.
“The results of this poll showed what many expected; businesses are hurting, especially smaller businesses and those in sectors whose operations have been most impacted by the reasonable state-imposed restrictions. Perhaps the most encouraging result showed employers expect their own companies and their industry sectors to recovery by early 2021,” she said. “At The Business Council we will continue to work with our elected leaders to convey the needs of the business community for a successful economic restart, recognizing that this will only be done as fast as public health considerations allow. The good news is, there’s real opportunity for New York State to partner with the private sector, who understands what it will require to ensure a stronger economy moving forward.”