Most respondents to Wisconsin Technology Council survey expect recovery in summer or fall

Several Wisconsin companies impacted by the economic slowdown caused by social distancing measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic expect their companies to start recovering this summer or fall, according to a Wisconsin Technology Council survey.

Business leaders surveyed by the Wisconsin Technology Council also say they are more optimistic about recovery prospects for their own firms than they are for the broader economy in Wisconsin or the United States.

Two-thirds of those responding to the informal survey (68%) said they expect their own businesses to start recovering this summer or fall, compared to 52 percent who said they expect Wisconsin’s economy to recover this summer or fall and 43 percent who said they expect the United States’ economy to recover this summer or fall.

The survey respondents had a guarded optimism when considering economic recovery, with 35 percent believing it will take a year or more for the U.S. economy to rebound.

Only 11 percent of respondents said they have yet to feel significant business effects from the COVID-19 crisis. Some businesses reported modest gains in sales and revenues, especially those engaged in the information and life sciences segments of the economy.

When asked about the workforce status of their firms, 40 percent of respondents reported they are “status quo” in terms of employees, 19 percent are hiring, 23 percent have frozen hiring and the remainder, about 18 percent, are laying off, furloughing or taking other steps to manage the size of their workforce.

Respondents were also asked what they would need most to make their business more successful in the months ahead. Nearly half (46%) called for gradual lifting of Gov. Tony Evers’ “Safer at Home” order, with some respondents suggesting the process should be guided by science-based metrics; 16 percent urged an immediate lifting of the order; 14 percent cited more U.S. Small Business Administration loans; 8% called for federal or state tax relief; 5 percent urged government regulatory relief and the reminder (11%) offered additional solutions, such as more federal support for research, re-training and infrastructure improvements, according to a press release.

The unscientific survey was conducted between April 16 through April 23 by the Wisconsin Tech Council with 111 respondents. All but four respondents were from Wisconsin while many are members or associates of the Tech Council Innovation Network.

Of the respondents, 87 percent said they’re the chief executive officer, president or a manager in their respective business. About 13 percent were employees. Of the businesses surveyed, 63 percent said their companies are 50 employees or less; 33 percent reported five employees or fewer.

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Brandon Anderegg
Brandon covers startups, technology, banking and finance. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.