Coronavirus survey shows devastating effects on local employers and employees

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A drop in consumer demand and sales revenue because of the coronavirus threat has had a devastating effect on employment at businesses in Southwest Florida, according to data released Monday from a local study conducted in late March by the Regional Economic Research Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University. 

While 65 percent of respondents laid off fewer than 20 percent of their employees, 20 percent of respondents laid off more than 80 percent of their employees. Twenty-one percent of small firms and 17 percent of large firms laid off more than 80 percent of their employees in Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties. 

Meanwhile, nearly a third of the respondents reduced hours for more than 80 percent of their employees. About 60 percent of large firms and 47 percent of small firms reduced hours for fewer than 20 percent of their employees. More than a third of small firms and 20 percent of large firms reduced hours for more than 80 percent of their employees. 

To fulfill social distancing mandates during the pandemic, 30 percent of regional firms have more than 80 percent of their employees working from home, and 53 percent of firms have fewer than 20 percent of their employees working from home. Contrasting the size of businesses, 37 percent of small firms and 16 percent of large firms have more than 80 percent of their employees working from home. 

During the March 23-28 survey period, 83 percent of respondents reported that none of their employees were diagnosed with the coronavirus while 8 percent said they did have employees that were infected. Twelve percent of the large firms and 6 percent of the small firms said they did have employees diagnosed with the virus or flu-like symptoms. 

For the full survey results, click here.

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