Press Release

Pace Business Poll: 65% of Businesses will be Stronger after Pandemic

September 15, 2021
Pace university students in a computer lab on campus.

The Lubin School of Business Surveys New York City, Westchester, Rockland and Long Island Businesses

Businesses Remain Optimistic, but Challenges Remain

NEW YORK & PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. (September 15, 2021) -- A majority of businesses surveyed in New York City, Westchester, and Long Island say they will be stronger after the pandemic, and half of respondents reported being optimistic about the future of business in New York, according to a recently released Pace Business Poll.

While many businesses reported that they were negatively impacted financially and had to implement new procedures such as remote work, most respondents feel that they learned important lessons that ultimately improved their business.

In particular, 65% of respondents said that their businesses will be stronger after the pandemic, in part, because many used the crisis to develop new and improved products or business skills to help them survive.

“The responses from business owners and managers are telling and very hopeful,” said Professor Kathryn Winsted, director of Lubin's Center for Student Enterprise and the Pace Business Poll. “The resiliency showed by many businesses during the pandemic was inspiring, and there is much to be gained by studying how businesses adjusted, adapted, and found new ways to make things work. Many business leaders expressed growing appreciation for the need for work/life balance and the importance of employees’ well-being.”

The results of the Pace Business Poll were announced at The Business Council of Westchester’s Board of Director’s fall meeting. The poll, a partnership between Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, The Business Council of New York State and The Business Council of Westchester, recently surveyed approximately 300 business leaders. The poll was conducted by email and by phone by students at Pace Connect, one of Lubin’s five student-run businesses in the Center for Student Enterprise at Pace. Read the full report here and watch a video about the Pace Business Poll.

“This was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about business and how businesses respond to crises,” said Liang Lin, a senior management major who is general manager at Pace Connect. “It was also very helpful for us to learn how to communicate effectively with business leaders.”

“The feedback from businesses on how they managed their respective operations is as interesting as it is helpful to the business community,” said Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester. “We are incredibly gratified to be working with Pace University and The Business Council of New York State on this poll, and expect it will continue to provide valuable information and insights on issues that matter to businesses in the region as we continue to rebound from the pandemic.”

The announcement comes as The Pace Business Poll is readying to conduct its next survey, which will focus on return to work, business sentiment, real estate, employee concerns, customer relations, and other issues of interest. Business interested in participating in the next poll can email

“Many of New York’s employers are still struggling as the state’s economy continues to rebound,” Ken Pokalsky, vice president, The Business Council of New York State Inc. “The Business Council found a great partner in Pace University to better understand the needs of businesses, particularly in the downstate region, so we can see first-hand just how much the pandemic continues to impact them even during the recovery process.”

In this first poll, lessons learned during this difficult time included the importance of being more flexible and open minded about implementing new procedures and ideas, improving technology, and taking advantage of the long-term possibility for remote work. Businesses also learned the importance of constructing emergency protocols to help them be better prepared for future extraordinary situations.

Other findings included:

  • Nearly three-quarters of responding businesses said that they were not forced to close down in March 2020.
  • Only 28% said that they had to shut down at some point during the pandemic. The majority of responding businesses who had to close for a period during COVID said they closed for less than 6 months. Less than 20% had to close for longer than six months.
  • Nearly 60% of all participating businesses said that they had been negatively affected financially due to the pandemic. However, nearly one in five indicated that their financial situation improved since the start of the pandemic. Of those businesses that were negatively affected by the pandemic financially, just over a quarter said that their revenue declined by more than 50%.
  • Just 39% of responding businesses said that they had to lay off or furlough employees due to the pandemic; 61% said that they kept their workforce the same or even increased it. Of those companies that laid off or furloughed employees, a little over half said all or most would be refilled. Nineteen percent said they would keep the positions empty for at least another year.

More than half of the businesses expressed that they are optimistic about the future of businesses in New York City and the surrounding areas over the next few years. Only a quarter are pessimistic about it and believe that businesses will struggle to recover.

In general comments, many respondents shared their concerns about the future of businesses in New York City due to challenges from the pandemic. Nearly a quarter mentioned that they think that changes are needed in local government and that they are worried about what the economic future in the city will look like without those changes. Many participants also discussed company improvements resulting from the challenge of the pandemic and said they were better prepared now to face future challenges.

The top recovery need expressed by business leaders who responded was assistance in locating new employees with specific skills or experiences, with nearly a third of respondents citing this as a need. Second was financial assistance for cash flow, with nearly a quarter stating that this was a need.

When asked about disadvantages of running a business in or near New York City, 41% said that the cost of running a business was the biggest disadvantage. Taxes were the next biggest concern with nearly one in five saying that New York City’s taxes are too high. Excessive government regulation and long commutes were other items of common concern.

The Pace Business Poll is the University’s first, and complements its strengths as a school with a rich history of excellence in business education. Founded as a school of accountancy in 1906, Pace has one of the largest internship placement programs in the New York metropolitan area, and a combined job placement rate is nearly 90 percent. The Lubin School of Business recently maintained its dual accreditation for both business and accounting by AACSB International, an elite distinction shared by fewer than 2 percent of business schools in the world offering business degree programs.

The Pace Business Poll is part of Lubin’s continued commitment to experiential learning, scholarship, and excellence, noted Lawrence G. Singleton, dean of the Lubin School of Business.

“The partnership with The Business Council of New York State and The Business Council of Westchester is about learning real challenges facing industries,” said Singleton. “It complements our curriculum and further bolsters Pace University’s place in the business community. We’re excited about this ongoing endeavor and eager to be part of its continued success.”

About Pace University

Pace University has a proud history of preparing its diverse student body for a lifetime of professional success as a result of its unique program that combines rigorous academics and real-world experiences. Pace is ranked the #1 private, four-year college in the nation for upward economic mobility by Harvard University’s Opportunity Insights, evidence of the transformative education the University provides. From its beginnings as an accounting school in 1906, Pace has grown to three campuses, enrolling 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in more than 150 majors and programs, across a range of disciplines: arts, sciences, business, health care, technology, law, education, and more. The university also has one of the most competitive performing arts programs in the country. Pace has a signature, newly renovated campus in New York City, located in the heart of vibrant Lower Manhattan, next to Wall Street and City Hall, and two campuses in Westchester County, New York: a 200-acre picturesque Pleasantville Campus and the Elisabeth Haub School of Law in White Plains. Follow us on Twitter or on the Pace News website.

About the Lubin School of Business at Pace University

Globally recognized and prestigiously accredited, the Lubin School of Business integrates New York City’s business world into the experienced-based education of its students at Pace’s suburban and downtown campuses, implemented by one of the region’s largest co-op programs, team-based learning, and customized career guidance. Its programs are designed to launch success-oriented graduates toward upwardly mobile careers.

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