- Small to midsize business CEO confidence in the economy sunk below 2008 recession levels, according to the June 16 results of Vistage's Q2 2020 CEO Confidence Index. Eighty percent of the 1,392 respondents reported some level of revenue decline.
- Hiring has taken a hit in response. Forty-one percent of respondents said they plan to maintain staffing levels, while more than a fifth said they will decrease their workforce headcount, up from last quarter's 9%.
- Despite this, 47% of respondents said they think their businesses will regain momentum in six months. Twenty-seven percent said they expect their business "will be stronger than before."
Many businesses halted or slowed recruiting efforts in response to the pandemic. Though some have started to resume hiring activity or bring back furloughed workers, business leaders are still exercising caution.
A March 30 Willis Towers Watson report revealed that more than 4 in 10 employers had implemented a hiring freeze or reduced hiring to prepare for the financial effects of COVID-19. Another 28% reported they will or may do the same. Specifically, 1 in 5 companies had reduced or eliminated hiring seasonal workers, with 35% of respondents reporting they would do the same.
Wage freezes or delayed raises were also possible responses, but they were less common than hiring freezes, the report concluded. Seven percent of Willis Towers Watson respondents had laid off employees, although 37% said they would or may do so in future.
Of course, the pandemic spurred hiring for some employers, namely those in the grocery and some facets of retail. CVS hired nearly 50,000 to expand its frontline workers, a group that included store associates, pharmacists, nurses and other clinic workers. Grocery chain Kroger added more than 100,000 to its workforce, while Walmart onboarded 150,000.