Latest results from NAU-led economic survey show business in northern Arizona is picking up, but slowly

W.A. Franke College of Business

The third round of results from the Economic Sentiment Survey show that most businesses in Flagstaff and Sedona are open but not operating at close to full capacity and that many businesses that are critical to the economic health of the region, including those in tourism and adjacent industries, have experienced significant declines in revenue in the last three months.

The survey, a joint effort between Northern Arizona University’s Alliance Bank Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and Coconino County, is designed to measure business sentiment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts of local and state government pandemic restrictions on local businesses. It offers a rolling look at how businesses in northern Arizona have been affected by the stay-at-home orders and shutdowns. This round of results, released on Tuesday, provides the first look at economic activity since the governor’s stay-at-home ordered was lifted on May 15 and businesses were able to reopen. The results confirm that the challenges for business and employees continue.

Business owners fill out the survey every three weeks; the data provides an enhanced picture of the local economy and will help business owners, economists and governmental leaders identify trends and business needs, with the goal of safely reopening the regional economy. For the first time, the survey asked about the greatest hurdle to a full reopening; business owners’ responses across several industries was a lack of tourists or customers, consumer confidence and keeping employees and customers safe.

There is some good news, however. Local government and economic leaders are able to use this data to get an accurate look at the local economy and make decisions that take both economic and community health into account. Business owners in Flagstaff, Williams, Page, Tusayan, Sedona and rural areas in Coconino County are encouraged to continue participating in the survey in the coming weeks so the available data is as complete and accurate as possible.

The next round of results will be released the week of July 6.

According to the latest results:

  • 8 percent of restaurants or prepared food suppliers have closed permanently since the start of the pandemic.
  • 47 percent of businesses are fully open, while 31 percent are partially open.
  • Open businesses are operating at 60 percent capacity.
  • Open businesses have seen a 44 percent decrease in revenue.
  • 50 percent have applied for aid; 40 percent have had furloughs or layoffs.
  • Businesses in tourism, retail, food service and the hotel industry have seen the biggest hits in operating capacity and revenue.

To look more at the data, visit the Economic Policy Institute website or the release of the May 20 data.

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Heidi Toth | NAU Communications
(928) 523-8737 |