A Main Street business shows its new hours cut back due to COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 31, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Yukon businesses reported lost revenue, obstacles in 2020: YBS

The Yukon Bureau of Statistics released a report on COVID-19’s impact on business this week

One in four Yukon businesses experienced a decline in revenue of 30 per cent or more in 2020, according to the Yukon Bureau of Statistics.

The bureau released a report on COVID-19’s impact on Yukon businesses in the first quarter of 2021.

The data was collected by Statistics Canada. Yukon businesses were surveyed in the first month of 2021 and asked to gauge their expectations for the next three months.

Close to half of all businesses reported decreased revenues last year. Businesses in the accommodation, food services, arts, entertainment and recreation sectors said they expect their profitability to decrease even more over the next three months.

About half of Yukon businesses said they will be able to continue operating in the next year at their current level of revenue. Nearly eight per cent of businesses reported they would consider closure or bankruptcy if revenues stay the same. Forty per cent of businesses reported they didn’t know the length of time they could continue.

Nearly one-third of businesses said they plan to expand, restructure their business or invest in other businesses over the next year.

The businesses surveyed described a variety of obstacles inhibiting success or growth.

One-third of businesses said they expect recruiting and retaining employees will be a challenge in the next three months. One-quarter expect that travel restrictions, supply chain challenges and high-speed internet will be obstacles. Fluctuations and insufficient demand were also noted as issues.

High-speed internet was the most common obstacle reported across all business types, particularly for 80 per cent of agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting businesses.

Travel restrictions was the second-most common obstacle, affecting several of the reporting industries.

Recruiting and retaining skilled employees will reportedly be an issue for 35 per cent of agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting businesses; accommodation and food businesses. Retail and construction businesses also listed this as a concern.

About half of businesses in manufacturing and retail trade and one-third of construction businesses reported concern about supply chain challenges. Businesses in transportation and warehousing; arts and entertainment; manufacturing; accommodation and food services expected that insufficient demand would be a problem.

Only 14 per cent of businesses utilize online sales or have plans to implement that option. Less than seven per cent of businesses made half or more of their total sales online in 2020 – a nearly two per cent increase from 2019. The largest increase of businesses using online sales was in the professional, scientific and technical services sector.

Contact Gabrielle Plonka at gabrielle.plonka@yukon-news.com