According to a recent survey by the Atlanta Fed, US businesses are concerned that the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent efforts to contain its spread can have a severe economic impact on their operations. In the Small Business Uncertainty survey, quarterly sales forecasts registered a decline below zero from the previous quarter when businesses had expected a 5% increase in sales.
On average, businesses anticipate sales to decline by around 16% in the next quarter due to the coronavirus crisis. Even though it is still not clear just how severe the economic impact of the outbreak is likely to be, businesses are bracing for a significant negative impact already.
On a positive note, however, businesses have not made any changes to their capital spending and employment plans yet, indicating that they believe the impact of the outbreak will be short-lived and that they will be able to recover from it quickly. Fed economists, however, expect sales to decline even more severely than businesses have indicated in the survey as the US goes into lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.