The pandemic and its consequences still have a firm grip on many companies in the district.
In short, that is the result of a new company survey.
Regional networks may become more important for companies again due to Corona
"Despite a certain relaxation, the Corona issue is still virulent and represents a great challenge for companies," said Josef Rother from the municipal research company Gefak at the presentation of the third entrepreneur survey (see box) since the outbreak of the pandemic.
While the assessments of the companies in October 2020 were partly more positive than before, it is now evident that almost three quarters of those surveyed complain about the negative effects of the pandemic.
A year ago, for example, nobody in the retail sector could have imagined that the Christmas business would be ruined, said Josef Rother.
Canceled major events
The pandemic is having a negative or very negative effect on around two thirds of the farms.
The hotel and hospitality industries were hardest hit.
It is now often complained that there are delivery bottlenecks and that events or training courses are canceled.
Restrained job cuts
Overall, however, it also shows that negative expectations from the previous surveys only occurred partially or to a lesser extent.
This affects, for example, the loss of employees, customers and orders.
The losses in sales are higher than the downsizing, which is undoubtedly due to government aid (especially short-time work benefits).
Around 20 percent of those surveyed still report that they can only partially employ employees.
Declining state aid
However, it is clear that satisfaction with the flow of state aid has decreased significantly.
Rother said it went better here at the beginning of the pandemic than later.
60 percent of those surveyed report a drop in sales.
A good every fifth company has laid off employees.
In addition, companies report the greater importance of digitization and the home office.
Around a third of companies assume that home offices will lose their importance again.
Problematic supply chains are one of the hot topics at the moment.
47 percent of companies state that they are affected.
"It runs across all industries and all areas of business," said Rother.
17 out of 27 critical raw materials come from China - the question arises as to whether we were not a little too reckless there.
Basically, the pendulum swung too much in the direction of globalization.
In the current situation, however, there is also an opportunity for re-regionalization and the creation of new networks and new supply chains.
Distant preliminary products
One often hears from the companies that it would be nice if the suppliers of the required preliminary products were closer, said Josef Rother from Gefak.
Sometimes they don't exist on site and sometimes they are simply not known.
Difficult personnel acquisition
Many of the companies surveyed in the district named stabilization, personnel acquisition and finding new suppliers as the major challenges in the near future after Corona.
Some companies also spoke of a lack of space in the context of the monitoring.
A good internet connection, changed space requirements and an improvement in local public transport were named as important location factors.
Too much bureaucracy was mentioned again and again.
As was also shown, just like in the first survey, half of the companies have no medium or long-term strategy.
"That amazed and brooded us," said Rother, although it is unclear whether the phenomenon is due to the pandemic.
It also became clear that many companies were very interested in economic development.
The newsletter on current issues aroused great interest, as did the creation of an entrepreneur database.
This is just emerging.
The surveys took place online and were not anonymous.
There were three snapshots - in June 2020, October 2020 and July 2021. In the first run, 1350 companies were contacted.
The response rate was relatively high at 24 percent.
In the last survey in July, 1,300 companies were contacted, and the response rate fell to 17 percent.
97 companies took part in all three questionnaires.
The surveys were carried out by Gefak on behalf of the district's economic development agency.
That was the first report on the interviews.