Three out of four firms received Covid-19 related financial support from the government in 2020, Stats NZ said today.
“Government assistance offered during Covid -19 restrictions, including wage subsidies and business loans, was one of the key things businesses used to help stay afloat last year,” business statistics manager Geraldine Duoba said.
The size of a business (measured by its number of employees) was not a major factor in whether that business took the opportunity to better manage its finances.
“Many firms tried to save money in a variety of ways when non-essential businesses closed temporarily in 2020 and international travel was restricted to slow the spread of Covid,” Duoba said.
“For example, 40 per cent of businesses negotiated rent reductions, or deferred rent payments.”
One in three businesses delayed or cancelled capital investments in things like new land, buildings, construction, and machinery or equipment.
One in six businesses laid off workers last year. Large firms (those with more than 100 employees) were more likely to lay staff off than small businesses (6–19 employees).
“Of the surveyed businesses, more than half cut working hours for existing staff and almost a third either made staff take paid or unpaid leave, or asked them to do so,” Duoba said.
For more information on the labour market during 2020 see Labour market statistics: December 2020 quarter.
The business operations survey reports on businesses with six or more employees.
Businesses were surveyed from August to December 2020 about how they responded to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.