The latest HARDI Pulse survey responses discussing COVID-19 impact show positive movement on most of the fronts discussed. While survey coordinators Sarah Jilbert and Brandin Bursa are diligent in noting that results are not statistically significant but are meant to provide a “general ‘pulse’ of where the industry sits,” that pulse clearly indicates that sales on the distributor side is rebounding.
Asked how much sales were down for that particular survey week, the tally over time has consistently funneled away from the most severe response categories. Those reporting recent decreases of 5 percent or more have dropped from 66 percent to 38 percent. Around 15 percent have seen steady sales throughout, and 30 percent of May 4 respondents said sales were actually up, steadily improved through the previous month after an initial number of only 8 percent for April 13.
Only one percent of distributors commenting had reduced compensation in the latest week, down from 9 percent on April 6 and 5 percent in the previous survey. Distributors who had laid off people that week also slipped to one percent, while furloughs were down to 3 percent from an original 17 percent in early April.
Distributors rehiring employees doubled to 6 percent from the previous two weeks.
The only response cutting against positive trends pertained to whether distributors had reduced employee hours in the last week. This number had debuted at a high of 32 percent and dwindled to 6 percent for the April 27 survey. However, most recently it jumped back to 11 percent, suggesting that some employers may be focusing on getting as many of their people back on payroll as possible, even if hours are curtailed as the pandemic continues.
All in all, the HARDI numbers suggest that many contractors are looking to do at least some typical ramping up of preparation and purchasing in advance of warmer temperatures.