Welcome to the Small Business Run Down. Each day we bring you stories and trends that impact small business owners and their workforce.
It’s the 105th day of the year–Tax Day–here in the United States. To celebrate, we’ll look at how SBOs are coping with hiring freezes, the impact of the Travel ban on small businesses, and increasing marijuana use in the workforce.
Small business owners freeze hiring, get creative in face of economic slowdown
We’ve heard this news before. Despite a general sense of optimism, small business owners are pressing the brake on hiring in the face of a slowing economy. Yet, even with a weakening economy looming overhead, there’s still work to do. So, instead of hiring full-time employees, employers are turning to freelancers, part-time workers, independent contractors and even technology to meet their staffing needs.
The Number: 1.6%. The Gross Domestic Product annual rate grew at 1.6% from January to March this year, down from a rate of 2.9% durin 2018.
The Quote: “We have frozen hiring until we know what’s happening.”
Travel Ban takes toll on some US small business owners, their workers and families
Instated in 2017, the travel ban that restricts people from Iran, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Venezuela and North Korea entering the US places a burden on small business owners across the country. Though no one has determined exactly how many businesses are impacted, SBOs who own restaurants, shops, medical practices, start-ups and other companies now face added difficulties accessing capital, hiring people from their native country and even bringing their own family members to the United States.
The Number: 37,000. Approximately 37,000 Green Card and non-immigrant visa applications were denied in 2018.
The Quote: “While I want this to be a big story, and pressure the embassy to grant me a visa waiver because the travel ban is causing undue hardship to me, as a U.S. citizen, and my company, a US entity, I am concerned that it may cause the opposite effect.”
Highest rate of drug use among US workforce in over a decade
Quest Diagnostics released a report indicating that drug use among US workers is at its highest since 2004. Marijuana topped the list of drugs commonly tested for by employers, with 2.8% of workers testing positive. The positivity rate for opiates, however, is down 21% since 2017, indicating a sharp drop since usage peaked in 2015.
When it comes to legal substance use, a new study from Penn State and the University at Buffalo found that customer service jobs requiring workers to suppress negative feelings is linked with excessive drinking during non-working hours.
The Number: 40%. The number of urine specimen samples reported ‘invalid because of inconsistency with normal human urine’ jumped by 40% from 2017 to 2018, indicating a rise in the number of people alter or substitute their sample.
The Quote: “Employers may not even be drug testing for these commonly abused [semi-synthetic] opioids.”
What not to write (in your company’s employee handbook)
Last week we looked at the benefits of creating a comprehensive employee handbook. Well, this week, we’re reminding you that there are some things that don’t belong in your company’s employment guide, like policies that went out of date in 1967 or illegal bans on social media use.
If your company didn’t have reason to celebrate Tax Day this year…
…take a look at this list of weird holidays in May that provide great opportunities for raising morale among employees, promoting services and boosting sales.