Survey Results: Reactions of Japanese Companies in the US to COVID-19

Apr 27, 2020

JETRO USA has been conducting surveys over the past month regarding the business concerns and reactions of Japanese companies to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in the US.

Part One of the survey was released on March 27th with 905 companies responding to the survey, of which 489 companies were from the manufacturing industry. The majority (571 companies) had employees in the range of 1-100 people.

Key findings from the survey were based on challenges while working from home, production and sales levels, labor management, visa restrictions, understanding the federal and state guidelines, and information on public aid and assistance measures.

Approximately 90% of companies implemented work from home guidelines, regardless of whether government Stay-At-Home Orders had been issued. However, 80% of companies are facing challenges including internal and external communication, executing on-site work such as at manufacturing facilities and warehouses, processing accounting, and keeping stable production levels.

70% of companies stated a decrease in sales occurred (both manufacturing and non-manufacturing) and more than 50% of companies suspended production or reported less than the normal rate of production.

Part Two of the survey, released last week, surveyed an additional 143 companies (1,048 in total) with a particular increase of respondents from the North and Southeast regions.

Key emphases were similar to Part One, with continued impacts on sales and production status, expats continuing to remain in the US despite 30% of companies offering the option of returning home, increase in the number of company employees working from home, and challenges in utilizing available Public Assistance Programs.

More than two-thirds of companies have stated that sales declined 20% year-over-year and over 20% stated sales decreased more than 50%. In our last survey, 50% halted or decreased production capacity, but this has increased to 70% with 75% of companies stating a decrease in domestic demand as the main reason for decline, followed by a shortage of workers.

One area that JETRO witnessed a particular increased response rate was regarding the utilization of federal and state programs for assistance. 25% of companies stated they wanted to use the assistance programs, but provided US guidance has been difficult to understand and they struggle to find the right contacts. Due to some of these constraints, 14.5% of the companies responded that they are interested but are not aware of the type of government support that is available.

To this extent, JETRO has provided a consultation service to Japanese companies through the link HERE. This application is for Japanese companies worldwide, so Japanese companies outside the US can still apply.

Questions or comments? Reach out to the relevant contact within the surveys or submit an inquiry form to one of our 6 US offices HERE.