Nebraskans are gaining a better understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses across the state thanks in part to a survey designed and conducted by UNO’s Center for Public Affairs Research (CPAR) and the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) at UNO, in collaboration with state and local chambers of commerce, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.
The survey enabled researchers to explore the range of challenges COVID-19 presented to Nebraskans in the business and nonprofit sectors.
“The University of Nebraska at Omaha is honored to have been able to assist the state of Nebraska in this very important effort,” UNO Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D. said. “Business owners and leaders in our community and across the state continue to play a critical role in revitalizing Nebraska’s economy, particularly now in this global pandemic recovery time. We owe it to them to understand the challenges and opportunities they face today, as well as their future needs.
“UNO looks forward to serving all Nebraskans as we navigate this new normal together.”
Over 4,500 businesses and nonprofits, large and small, completed the survey on the UNO CPAR website during a limited timeframe in April. NBDC Director Cathy Lang joined Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts at the capitol on Tuesday to thank businesses and organizations for participating and to share some general takeaways, including:
- The pandemic touches every geographic area and industry in Nebraska. 87 percent of respondents had been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
- While revenues have decreased for 89 percent of respondents, businesses are actively taking steps to maintain staff and hours.
- Respondents shared concerns about:
- The pandemic’s impact on operations and/or liquidity and capital (22 percent)
- The duration of outbreak/quarantine efforts (20 percent)
- Decreasing consumer confidence and spending (16 percent).
“I’m so pleased that the University of Nebraska was able to lend its expertise to this important effort,” said NU President Ted Carter. “The survey results announced today by Governor Ricketts make clear that COVID-19 is having a broad and significant impact on Nebraska businesses.
“With the information we’ve learned, and using the collective resources of all four campuses, the university will continue to be a partner in helping our state recover and grow for the future.”
The NBDC, housed within UNO’s College of Business Administration, has led efforts to support economic development in Nebraska by providing professional consulting services to small businesses statewide and leveraging the knowledge of faculty experts at UNO and partner institutions across the state. Conducting this research required tapping the expertise of researchers and analysts within UNO’s Center for Public Affairs Research (CPAR) within the College of Public Affairs and Community Service.
CPAR Director Josie Schafer recognizes how the Center has made an impact. “UNO’s Center for Public Affairs Research (CPAR) is part of an expansive research effort to understand the range of economic and workforce challenges presented to Nebraska as result of this pandemic,” Schafer said. “I am proud to be part of an institution that is able to leverage research skills and partnerships with state and community organizations, as well as the Nebraska Business Development Center here at UNO, to conduct timely research that will offer practical insights to policy makers and organizations statewide to reestablish the healthy and vibrant economy Nebraska is known for.”
The full report is publicly available and can be viewed and downloaded at https://issuu.com/cba_uno/docs/covid-19_nebraska_business_survey_report-2.
A second round of surveying is planned to take place in June. Results from subsequent rounds of surveys will be used to track changes and better understand the pandemics impact on businesses across the state.
The Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC) helps Nebraska businesses start, grow and develop, by strengthening Nebraska businesses for a healthy economy and prosperous communities. NBDC is a University of Nebraska at Omaha center that provides confidential consulting business development services across Nebraska to entrepreneurs and business owners for the life cycle of their business. NBDC partners with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Kearney, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Wayne State College, and Chadron State College to deliver its services statewide. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the U.S. Department of Commerce (EDA), and other federal, state and private organizations support NBDC. Visit nbdc.unomaha.edu for more information.
About UNO’s Center for Public Affairs Research
The Center for Public Affairs Research is a research and community outreach unit of the UNO College of Public Affairs and Community Service. Survey research support is a key component of CPAR's mission. CPAR is also the lead agency for the Nebraska State Data Center Program. This program is a cooperative program between the U.S. Census Bureau and individual states. This relationship has resulted in CPAR taking an active role in analyzing and disseminating information from the decennial census and American Community Survey.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.