Sylvan Lake survey reports a 69% drop in jobs

Responses to Business Resiliency Survey show many unsure if they could last the next three months

Sylvan Lake’s businesses will not be the same when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

The Town of Sylvan Lake, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Alberta, received 133 responses to their business resiliency survey.

Responses varied from “We’re screwed” to “We are going to be fine.”

Amanda Mercer, economic development officer with the town, said the survey results are “a little bit scary.”

“Roughly 24 per cent of respondents felt they could last six months or longer,” Mercer said during a recent council meeting.

But 30 per cent of respondents were unsure how long they would be able to manage, and 41 per cent felt they could not survive the next three months.

The biggest concern for businesses during the pandemic is covering operating expenses and cash flow, which Mercer says isn’t a big surprise.

The vast majority of businesses say they have been negatively affected by COVID-19.

“Roughly seven per cent of businesses say they have been positively affected or not affected by the pandemic,” Mercer said.

According to the survey, local employment numbers have experienced a 69 per cent decline.

“When we did the survey, Alberta’s unemployment rate sat at about 13 per cent. We can safely assume the local unemployment rate is higher than the provincial average,” Mercer said.

On the positive side, nearly 47 per cent of respondents said they are planning to hire their employees back when they reopen. Thirty-five per cent said they were unsure if employees would be rehired.

“As business levels return, employment rates will increase. However, we will not be where we were.”

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