Texas A&M surveys tracking health of local businesses says we’re headed in the right direction

Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 5:39 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Throughout the pandemic, economists at Texas A&M’s Private Enterprise Research Center have been monitoring the health of our local economy. In order to do so, they have created two surveys to track local businesses.

The first survey was conducted in July and it showed signs of a recovering economy.

The survey done in November has been finalized and the results aren’t terribly different from what researchers expected.

Andrew Rettenmaier, one of the leading researchers on this study and the Executive Associate Director of the Texas A&M Private Enterprise Research Center was on First News at Four on Monday.

In June, the survey had nearly 500 respondents. Five months later, less than half of those businesses followed up.

Rettenmaier says in June, businesses had weathered the stay-at-home orders and had a good idea of how they would be impacted. When PERC conducted the survey, businesses already had the month of May under their belts.

“I would say in May, respondents were eager to report on what was going on in their business. The respondents were maybe seeing that the fall wasn’t quite as robust as they expected,” Rettenmaier said. “There might have been some fatigue.”

Rettenmaier says the average operating percentage was up 81 percent, relative to 75 percent back in June. He says things are moving in the right direction.

“However, we are still down relative to September,” Rettenmaier said.

Rettenmaier says the numbers that are showing up in the PERC report are what they call “seasonally adjusted numbers”.

“What we do is we take out things that happen every year,” said Rettenmaier. “The ups and down in the local economy are different than the ups and downs in other economies during the year. This year, our numbers are down relative to what we usually expect in the fall.”

Rettenmaier says some firms are not seasonably adjusting their numbers, but they have certain expectations of what the fall should look like. He says there is still work to do.

“We are currently at a slightly slower pace of the recovery,” Rettenmaier said. “We’re on the path back. We were kind of on the track of growing employment, so we need to get back on that path that is even higher than we were in February.”

To watch the full interview, click on the video player above.

Copyright 2020 KBTX. All rights reserved.