UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WLUC) - In order to clarify and provide factual data and information that is being offered with state and national perspectives, InvestUP, the region’s economic development organization, released a fact sheet.
The goal is to ensure clear and consistent information relating to the COVID-19 impact in the U.P. is available to communities, industries, businesses, and residents of the Upper Peninsula, as well as state policy makers.
“We know the U.P. is unique in so many ways,” shared Marty Fittante, CEO, InvestUP, adding “while COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the state of Michigan, we also recognize that at this point in time, things look very different in the U.P. than in other areas of the state.”
The U.P. has had an average number of 1.6 daily cases since the first case of COVID-19 was detected here, with a quarter of U.P. counties not having a single case reported. Recognizing that no area is immune to COVID-19 or its impacts, the need for a safe and responsible reopening remains imperative, as do facts.
The economic impacts resulting from mandated closures have hit many key industries in the U.P., as 33.5 percent of the workforce is employed in education, human services, retail, leisure and hospitality. In addition, with an average business employing 12 people, small business remains the backbone of the Upper Peninsula economy.
The economic impact survey conducted in early May reported that 68 percent of U.P. businesses indicated they were forced to adjust payroll in some manner; on average respondents had furloughed 5 full or part-time employees, totaling 2,047 employees.
Business owners further stated 16 percent were working without a salary and experiencing an average of 25 percent in loss of sales due to COVID-19. 46 percent of survey respondents indicated they believe they could sustain operations for 6 months or less.
“The intent of this fact sheet is to combine information related to COVID-19 cases in the U.P. with the collective preparedness of the 15 U.P. hospitals as well as the deep economic impacts being reported across the region to support a regional evaluation and approach to recovery and reopening.” stated Fittante. Adding, “one that is measured and methodical, with safety at the forefront, but one that is unique to the U.P.”
Check out the full fact sheet in the related documents for this story.