A workplace survey conducted by Hamilton Economic Development in conjunction with Workplace Planning Hamilton demonstrated a fairly high level of confidence in the future of local businesses despite the impacts of the Pandemic. When asked about the business outlook for their organization, a total of 50.1% of respondents rated their six-month outlook as either excellent, very good, or good, the three choices which reflected stable operations on a growth trajectory. Only 2.3% reported an emergency outlook, which foresaw imminent permanent closure. The survey which was completed by over 900 businesses representing almost 50,000 employees has a 95 percent confidence level. Any of the respondents who reported a “poor” or “emergency” outlook were provided a follow-up by Economic Development staff.
Overall employment levels among those surveyed decreased by 5 percent, with the hospitality sector taking the biggest hit with a nearly 40 percent drop in employment as a result of pandemic closures and restrictions. While the hospitality sector revenue was hardest hit by the pandemic, nearly two-thirds of all businesses reported some negative revenue impact due to the pandemic.
Asked about the impact of minimum wage increases on their businesses, more than half of respondents reported that the change had either no impact on their business (31.8% of respondents) or that the minimum wage change had no impact because they were already a self-identified living wage employer (27.9%). Slightly more than a quarter of respondents noted that the minimum wage increase had either a large negative impact on the business (10.9% of respondents) or a moderate native impact on the business (17.4%). The three industry sectors that most frequently reported a negative impact of minimum wage increases were in accommodations and food service, retail trade, and other services.