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ASE Releases Employer COVID-19 Business Impact Survey Results

Media Contact: Heather Nezich, Manager, Communications, ASE, 248.223.8040,

Livonia, Mich. — April 7, 2020 — ASE, Michigan’s largest employer association, released a survey today that measures the business impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey, launched on March 26th, examines the financial impact the current COVID-19 pandemic has had on Michigan business and the steps some have taken to mitigate that impact. In total, 147 Michigan companies participated in the survey that closed on April 2nd.

On March 10th, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services identified the first two presumptive-positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan. Shortly thereafter, the Governor issued a stay-at-home order requiring all but essential businesses to cease operations that require workers to leave their homes.

According to the survey, the economic impact of the pandemic and the disruption resulting from the stay-at-home order has been significant. More than three-quarters (76.1%) of participants reported that their six- to 12-month business outlook has worsened moderately or significantly. Slightly more than 20% of companies reported that their business outlook has worsened significantly.

Mary E. Corrado, ASE President and CEO, stated, “The financial impact of the pandemic will likely be felt for months if not years to come as this pandemic continues to grip our state and our nation. Our data suggests that our members have taken many painful steps to weather the short-term economic impact.”

The negative business impact was seen in several areas including the following:

Hiring has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. Nearly four in ten companies (40%) have already implemented a hiring freeze, and another 18% were considering doing so at the time of the survey.

An additional 30% (32.7%) of respondents expect a hiring freeze for all or most of 2020, and nearly a quarter of participants expect a decrease in hiring compared to levels previously projected for 2020.
Nearly a third (32.7%) of companies surveyed report having implemented temporary staff reductions or layoffs, and nearly a quarter (23.8%) were considering it. Temporary staff reductions / layoffs among manufacturing organizations were more significant. Slightly more than 40% of participants in that industry have implemented temporary staff reductions/layoffs. Just 6% of those surveyed have implemented permanent staff reductions/layoffs.

To a lesser extent, employers have also targeted wages and salaries to control costs during this crisis. Approximately 10% of those surveyed have implemented a wage freeze and nearly a quarter (24%) were considering doing so. Wage freezes typically take the form of an elimination of planned salary increases. Approximately a quarter (22%) of those surveyed are considering delaying or reducing the size of planned merit/pay increases. Another 10% of those surveyed implemented pay reductions and nearly 20% (19%) were considering it.

147 companies in Michigan responded to the survey. The majority (91%) of the respondents have 500 or fewer employees. 76% of those responding reside in Metro Detroit.

For employer resources on handling the COVID-19 pandemic and for daily updates, please visit

To download full survey results, click here. Contact Kevin Marrs at for more information.

About the American Society of Employers (ASE) – a Centennial Organization

ASE is Michigan’s largest employer association and the premier resource for HR excellence. ASE is a non-profit, membership organization – everything we do is based on the needs of members and to drive the success of their organizations. ASE strengthens organization’s HR departments by offering member benefits and discounted services that span the entire employee lifecycle including recruitment, engagement, development, and retention while minimizing compliance risk. Learn more about ASE at