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Survey Reveals Economic Impact Of Pandemic On Coconino County Businesses

NAU Economic Policy Institute

Economists at Northern Arizona University surveyed about 400 businesses in Coconino County and Sedona to see how they’re coping with the economic shutdown. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports on their findings.

In the May survey nearly half of the businesses reported layoffs or furloughs among their employees. About a third of the businesses remained closed, and those that were open saw a 37 percent decrease in revenue. That’s an improvement from the results of an earlier survey in April which showed a 45 percent decrease in revenue.

Joseph Guzman, director of NAU’s Economic Policy Institute, says, "The most impacted sectors have been those having to do with hospitality, and on the rebound, we seem to be seeing an early rebound in construction... but everybody’s being hit." 

Nearly sixty percent of the businesses applied for financial aid, but many of those are still waiting to receive the funding. In an open-ended question, business owners said they’re in need of more guidance on how to return to normal operations during the pandemic.  "There you have some very strong statements, you could sense the emotion behind the words," Guzman says. "Businesses are having a hard time."

Guzman says one encouraging sign was the percentage of businesses who said they were permanently closed dropped from April to May. The team plans to expand the survey to Apache, Navajo, and Yavapai counties this week.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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