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Survey: Some Wis. contractors see modest income losses in September

A survey of Wisconsin businesses suggests contractors were treading water in September as the coronavirus pandemic dragged on.

The survey, from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Center for Customized Research, polled 453 businesses throughout the state — but mostly outside southeast Wisconsin — in early September about the effects of COVID-19. The results also include 22 responses from businesses in the construction industry. UWO has conducted the survey monthly since April.

September’s survey generally showed businesses losing income after, in July, posting their first increase in income since the pandemic began. The respondents all together reported losing $4.2 million in income in August, and seeing $23.9 million in other financial losses.

Contractors also reported losses after seeing a recovery in July. While two dozen of the respondents saw their income rise by $720,000 in July, 19 respondents reported losing $500,00 in income in a survey in August and 22 said they lost $250,000 in income in the September survey.

The respondents also sai in the September survey that they had lost 18 employees and reported $800,000 in other financial effects from the pandemic.

However, most of the contractors surveyed in September — 15 of the 22 — said they were confident they would remain in business for 10 months or longer under current conditions.

Meanwhile, fewer than 30% of the businesses surveyed in September said they had sought financial assistance. That’s the lowest number since UWO began its survey six months ago.

“This is likely due to an ongoing lack of resources as Congress continues to consider new stimulus measures,” said Jeffrey Sachse, interim director of UWO’s Center for Customized Research and Services, in a statement.

About Nate Beck, nbeck@dailyreporter.com

Nate Beck is The Daily Reporter's construction staff writer. He can be reached at (414) 225-1814 (office) or 414-388-5635 (mobile).

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