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Key findings of U.P. economic impact survey outlined

MARQUETTE — Earlier this month an economic impact survey was conducted by InvestUP, Upper Peninsula Michigan Works, and the local economic development community to measure the impacts of COVID-19 on U.P. businesses.

With 332 respondents from across all 15 U.P. counties, the results of the survey confirmed that businesses across the Upper Peninsula have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. As of May 4, 50% of consumer-sector companies responding remain closed and were not generating any revenue.

68% of U.P. businesses indicated they were forced to adjust payroll in some manner; on average respondents had furloughed 5 full or part-time employees, totaling 2,047 employees. Business owners further stated 16% were working without a salary and experiencing an average of 25% in loss of sales due to COVID-19. 46% of survey respondents indicated they believe they could sustain operations for 6 months or less.

When asked to rank the most pressing needs 42% of those responding selected grants with 41% choosing a renewed access to customers followed by 14% wanting more no or low interest loans and another 14% looking for regulatory relief. While many Upper Peninsula businesses have pursued programs that have been made available, with U.P. banks lending $286 million to over 2100 businesses for an average of $136,000 in the first round of lending for the Paycheck Protection Program, the need for additional opportunities is clear. This was also demonstrated by the near 800 applications received for the Michigan Small Business Relief grant program, with allotted funding only permitting an average of $6,250 to 80 recipients across the U.P. along with 8 low-interest loans averaging $62,500 through the Michigan Small Business Relief loan program.

“While this survey yielded a small sampling of the 7,380 businesses in the Upper Peninsula, it is clear that businesses across the U.P. have seen serious impacts to operations and revenue.” stated Marty Fittante, CEO, InvestUP. Adding, “there is a clear need for additional programming as well as the opportunity to look at a true regional approach to reopening, which was the most common comment heard in the survey; asking state officials to allow the Upper Peninsula to make its own decisions in relation to its economic reopening and well-being.”

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