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New survey: Southwest Florida crushed by coronavirus

Florida Gulf Coast University moved quickly to survey business owners and leaders.

  • By
  • | 12:29 p.m. April 6, 2020
  • Charlotte–Lee–Collier
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FORT MYERS — The Regional Economic Research Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University has quickly surveyed nearly 1,000 Southwest Florida business owners and executives about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Key findings of the report include:

• More than two-thirds of the respondents, 65%, have laid off fewer than 20%of employees, while 20% have laid off more 80% of their employees;

• Eight out of 10 business reported a decrease in demand from the coronavirus, and 63% reported a decrease a decline of more than 50%;

• Consumer demand was slightly more likely to decrease for small firms, with 91% of small firms reporting a decrease in demand compared to 83% of large firms;

• Nearly nine of 10 respondents reported  a decrease in revenue, with 61% reporting drops of more than 50%;

• Over one-third of the small firms and 20% of large firms reduced hours for more than 80% of their employees.

The bulk of the businesses that responded to the survey are based in either Collier or Lee counties, with customers in both counties. About 20% of the respondents do some work in Charlotte County, the report shows.

The survey was conducted from March 23 to March 28, produced for the Lee County Economic Development Organization and the Horizon Council of Lee County, according to a statement. Officials expect to conduct follow up surveys in the final weeks of April, May and June.




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