A recent survey of major Manhattan area employers finds a huge drop in consumer confidence to be the top concern as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Some 55 survey responses submitted by the Greater Manhattan Economic Partnership were received from those employers in Riley and Pottawatomie counties. They represent over 7,600 jobs in the Manhattan area, averaging 115 full-time and 42 part-time employees.

Also of concern was the financial impact on operations and/or liquidity and capital. In addition, concerns were raised that a recession may be imminent as well as the status of Kansas State University and the long-term enrollment at the school.

Employers estimated their business could survive on average 26 weeks before closing. They rated workforce morale at a 5.3 on a scale of one to seven, but admitted stressors including anxiety, uncertainty with employment and lack of available childcare among top factors for employees.

Other employment Information gathered included:

  • 100% of businesses responding are open with 56% operating on-site and 44% operating remote
  • 29% changed employee count (layoffs/furloughs), while 71% reported no change in employee count
  • 57% of respondents reported a decrease in revenue by an average of 29% as a result of the pandemic, 37% no change in revenue, and 6% reported an increase in revenue
  • 54% of respondents do not anticipate permanent workforce reductions in next 3 months
  • 88% of employees temporarily not reporting for work are being paid during work hiatus

Finally, the employers indicated the following as assistance that might be needed. This included:

    • Employee resources
    • Representation of business issues to government officials and coordination with local government to reduce barriers to a quick economic recovery
    • Distribution of other employer best practices

Of the businesses surveyed, the industries represented includes:

  • Manufacturing – 17%, Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services – 15%, Other – 12%  (Software as a Service, Wealth Management, Philanthropic Foundation, Quarrying and Civil Construction), Health Care and Social Assistance – 10%, Construction – 7%, Wholesale Trade – 7%, Educational Services – 5%, Retail Trade – 5%


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