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Survey canvasses responses to downturn

Associated Industries is asking businesses about layoffs, furloughs and more

For 20 years, Spokane’s Associated Industries has surveyed companies about how much they pay and the benefits they provide.

This year the organization will add a survey to learn how many companies turned to layoffs, salary freezes, job sharing, furloughs and shorter workweeks to adjust to the economic downturn.

The goal is to help area employers get a clearer view of how other businesses have reacted so far and what they’re expecting over the next 12 months, said Associated Industries Vice President Bill Sweigert.

“This is a year unlike any I’ve ever seen in the 40 years I’ve been here in the community,” Sweigert said.

The traditional wage and benefits summary, called the Inland Northwest Compensation Survey, covers more than 100 jobs and pay scales. Results are available only to Associated Industry members or to companies that took part in the survey.

Results of the new survey about how area firms reacted to the economy will be free to any company that wants them, Sweigert said. Employers can take part in the survey at

“As we looked at this year’s survey we realized no one was checking with local employers to see what they’re doing” to survive, Sweigert said.

That set of questions will ask employers for detailed lists of adjustments over the past year, and ask company executives how they expect to do over the next 12 months.

All questions will be asked anonymously. Answers will be segregated into seven industries – transportation-utilities, health care, retail, wholesale, banking-finance, manufacturing and other.

To make survey results more relevant, employers will also be categorized by size and number of workers.

Associated Industries provides legal, human resource and other business services for close to 700 companies in Washington, Montana and Idaho.

Survey results are expected to be ready around Sept. 15.

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