SWLA Business Survey
The Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance and McNeese State University have released the results of a study measuring the impact of the COVID-19 on area businesses.
There are five overall takeaways from the research that was compiled March 16-27, 2020:
- Many Lake Area businesses have been affected by the pandemic.
- Many businesses have canceled or postponed projects.
- Many business owners and managers expect a downturn in revenue thru the first two quarters of 2020.
- Many business owners and managers have reduced work hours after Louisiana “stay-at-home order”
- Many businesses have access to remote hardware and software.
George Swift, President and CEO of the Alliance/Chamber SWLA, said the assessment was done in order to gauge the short and long term impacts of the pandemic on the economy.
“We took the survey to measure these ever changing impacts on our business community. This information is going to be used in order for our agency to tailor programs that will assist businesses in their recovery efforts and help elected officials to make decisions on business related policies,” he said.
Dr. Dan Groft, Director of the H.C. Drew Center for Business and Economic Analysis at McNeese State, said findings started to change after the “stay-at-home” order was given by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
“This survey was taken from the 16th until the 27th with the governor’s stay-at-home order announced on March 22nd. You can see that responses later in the period are taking more of a negative turn in terms of cutting hours, postponing or cancelling projects, or projected revenues. Part of that may be due to the types of businesses that are answering first but another part is surely the amount of new information that was released in the short period of time. This is a historic event that we keep adjusting our behavior on a constantly changing basis.”
Groft noted that the five-parish area’s industrial base is going to play an important role in the overall strength of the economy.
“I think one bit of good news is that some of the drivers in our economy in terms of manufacturing are still online. The manufacturing facilities (petrochem, refineries, etc.) are so important to this area so keeping them going will make a big difference,” he said.