Study shows economic impacts of COVID devastating on Southeast Alaska

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Revenue was down 57% and businesses have cut over 18 percent of their workforce were two of the key findings in a study done by the Southeast Conference on the 2020 Economic Conditions in the region.

    Each year the Southeast Conference asks regional business owners and top managers to complete a business climate survey.

    It asks them to form projections regarding the economic direction of the region.

    This year the businesses were also asked to talk about how COVID-19 has impacted their business.

    Some of the findings were that over 50 percent of businesses have received COVID-19 support funding.  47 percent received PPP funding.

    Responding employers said they had laid off 18.6% of their total workforce and canceled hiring thousands of workers due to the virus.

    About 25 percent of businesses said they expect to cut more staff in the future.

    Robert Venables, Executive Director of Southeast Conference, said the survey didn't have many surprises, “There is no sugar-coating the grim state of our economy. We need to rally around our at-risk businesses and do everything possible to stabilize their situation while working toward economic recovery. There is no quick or easy fix, but Southeast Alaskans are resilient and have continually bounced back from economic disasters. This survey gives voice to the economic woes but also provides an understanding of the needs and challenges we must meet.”

    The study also found that business revenue was down 57% this year compared to 2019.

    Tourism and arts experienced the greatest revenue loss.

    Mines and timber operations reported the smallest reduction.

    Businesses in Haines and Skagway reported the biggest revenue losses in the region.

    The study also found that 25 percent of respondents said they were at risk of closing permanently.  33 percent said they were not at risk of closure.

    The most likely businesses to close include child care facilities, social service providers, and food and drink establishments.

    89 percent said the current economy was poor.  62 percent said they felt the upcoming year would be worse.

    Alec Mesdag, Southeast Conference president said the virus has impacted a lot of people, "In addition to businesses, it is important to note the impacts to social-welfare nonprofits, many of which will simultaneously see increased demand and decreased support. The scramble to keep our heads above water will hopefully not inhibit our ability to absorb what we are experiencing, because we will make it through, and the ability to remember what happened will help us craft a more resilient economy."

    The full study can be read on the Southeast Conference website:

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