CenterState CEO Shares Phase 2 COVID-19 Business Impact Survey Results

Posted on June 4, 2020

Covid 19 Survey Email

As part of its efforts to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the business community, CenterState CEO conducted a two-phase COVID-19 Business Impact Survey, alongside direct outreach efforts to its members.

During the Phase 2 COVID-19 Business Impact Survey period of April 8 to April 30, unemployment began its climb to historic levels, reaching over 16% in the Syracuse MSA. At the same time, the CARES Act began to take effect, with businesses seeking financial support through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), among others. Additionally, the federal government provided enhanced unemployment benefits to laid-off and furloughed employees, but those individuals found claims difficult to file due to overrun state labor departments. 

More than 150 Phase 2 COVID-19 Business Impact Survey responses were received, providing CenterState CEO with critical, real-time understanding into the disruptions businesses and nonprofits continue to experience as the result of this crisis. This second phase of the survey provided a deeper evaluation of current and future trends, as well as a comparison to previous responses highlighting how challenges and opportunities have evolved over time (see the phase 1 survey results here). This data, like that of the previous survey, is informing the organization’s response efforts and guiding conversations with elected officials at every level.  The survey results represent a cross-section of industries and a broad range of company sizes, with more than half of companies between 1 and 50 employees.

Consumer facing industries, accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment and recreation, retail trade, wholesale trade, reported much higher levels of concern compared to all industries, showing that these areas of the CNY economy were especially hard hit during the first months of the COVID-19 crisis.

Sales, cash flow, and customers are at a high or highest level of concern according to respondents of the phase two of the survey, continuing the challenges we heard about in phase one. Compared with the high level of concern surrounding sales, cash flow, and customers, concerns surrounding employees were much lower, with only 39% of those surveyed saying that this was of high or highest concern to them. Operational concerns, such as regulatory, supply chain, and inventory management issues were significantly less of a concern than demand driven impacts.

Consumer facing issues like sales and cash flow remain the highest concern for business leaders. Customers concerns dropped from 63% to 49% when comparing responses from phase one to phase two of the survey.

As part of its direct outreach to members, CenterState CEO also recorded the impacts on individual businesses, as well as their concerns and the actions they are taking. Through direct interviews with members, uncertainty around reopening was shared. At the same time, there was a general sense of optimism with several industries, including manufacturing, anticipating that demand will begin to recover by October.

Key Findings from Phase 2 COVID-19 Business Impact Survey

  • 12% are looking to hire employees or expand hours to meet new demand.
  • 51% of businesses have experienced a decrease in demand resulting in layoffs, decreased operation hours, shifts of work days.
  • Concerns and impacts continue to center on demand driven issues like sales, customers and cash flow.
  • Small employers (1-50 employees) used PPP and EIDL loans at much higher rate.
  • Small employers had similar levels of concern/impact to big businesses, but fewer resources available.
  • MWBEs had greater concerns and impacts surrounding supply chains.
  • Business development impacts for professional services were higher than in other industries indicating potential business pipeline issues in the future.
  • Several industries, including manufacturing, anticipate that demand will begin to recover by October.
  • Real estate and finance firms indicated a higher concern for regulatory issues and customers than all other industries.
  • Professional services operations expressed that their future business development opportunities would be the most impacted.

Key Findings from Phase 1 COVID-19 Business Impact Survey

  • 10% are looking to hire employees to meet new demand.
  • 1 out of 5 manufacturers reported an increase in demand requiring hiring.
  • 35% of businesses are offering discounted sales as a response.
  • 55% of business have experienced a decrease in demand resulting in layoffs, decreased operation hours, shifts, or work days.
  • 34% of businesses now say that supply chain impacts are high or of the highest impact. This is up from 15% on March 23.
  • Concerns and impacts for most industries center on customers and sales.

Understanding the needs of businesses has allowed CenterState CEO to:

  • Prioritize the frequency of communication and the broadening of its communications channels;
  • Deploy a rapid response team to provide real-time analysis and direct support to businesses impacted by evolving public health and governmental guidance;
  • Act as a community connector for the critical needs of our health care institutions;
  • Assist companies in redeploying their manufacturing capabilities to meet needed demand for personal protective equipment;
  • Assist companies in accessing new capital and relief programs; and
  • Develop an evolving calendar of new programming, including webinars to add the most timely and relevant value during your time of need.

CenterState CEO will continue to provide resources updates on its COVID-19 Business Resources page. It also will respond to immediate questions or concerns at

CEO News

Surge Accelerator Teams Innovation Night
CEO News | 02/15/2024

A Reflection on the Past Year, from Syracuse Surge Accelerator Program Manager, Emad Rahim

It is hard to believe it has been a full year since we launched the Syracuse Surge Accelerator. In reflecting on this inaugural year, I am incredibly proud of what we have created through this program, and excited to witness its continued…

GNY Round 8 Applications Graphic
CEO News | 02/08/2024

Empire State Development Announces Application Window for GENIUS NY Round 8 Now Open

Empire State Development (ESD) announced that GENIUS NY – the world’s largest business accelerator focused on uncrewed aerial systems – is now accepting applications for the eighth round of the year-long program.

KeyBank CenterState CEO Check Presentation
CEO News | 02/06/2024

KeyBank Awards CenterState CEO With $500,000 Investment

Funding will support the launch and growth of underrepresented firms through training, coaching, and technical assistance and provide direct lending to and investment in undercapitalized firms.

Rob Simpson at the 2024 Economic Forecast Breakfast
CEO News | 01/31/2024

CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson's 2024 Economic Forecast Remarks

CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson delivered the following remarks at the 2024 Economic Forecast Breakfast event on Jan. 31, 2024.

Crowd at the 2024 Economic Forecast Breakfast
CEO News | 01/30/2024

Economic Forecasters Share Continued Optimism

CenterState CEO hosted its popular Economic Forecast event to share insights into the region’s economic climate from the perspective of regional business leaders and economic experts.

Nominate Business of the Year 2024
CEO News | 01/25/2024

Business of the Year Award Nominations are Now Open!

CenterState CEO is now accepting nominations from members for its 2024 Business of the Year Awards. Deadline is Monday, Feb. 26, 2024.

10th-Annual-Clothing-Drive 2024 Updated
CEO News | 01/12/2024

10th Annual Mark J. Palumbo Memorial Clothing Drive, honoring Nancy Premo

CenterState CEO is hosting the 10th annual Mark J. Palumbo Memorial Clothing Drive in honor of Nancy Premo. Bring gently used items, such as winter coats, hats, sweatshirts, gloves, scarfs, sweaters and warm socks to CenterState CEO's…

Syracuse Surge Accelerator Sign-Speak
CEO News | 01/10/2024

Syracuse Surge Accelerator-Meet the Teams: Sign-Speak

Meet Yamillet Payano, cofounder of Sign-Speak.

Rob Simpson statement of State of the State 2024
CEO News | 01/09/2024

CenterState CEO President Robert Simpson Comments on Governor Kathy Hochul’s State of the State Address

Robert M. Simpson, president of CenterState CEO, in Syracuse, issued the following statement following Governor Kathy Hochul’s State of the State Address.