The Daily Rundown

SMB News Daily Rundown: Update for July 14

Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.

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Small Business News Highlights for July 14: 

  • Retailers ending “hero pay” wage increases for frontline workers as pandemic drags on
  • Companies ending leases as WFH becomes permanent for more employees 
  • National Federation of Independent Businesses sees SBO confidence climb in June 

Retailers end ‘hero pay’ 

“What we are doing is still very risky. We should get at least something for that.”

Chain retailers such as Stop & Shop, Kroger, Amazon and others are ending pay differentials for frontline workers as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

Employers often intended the pay raises to be temporary, as their employees continued with surging demand and increased risk during the initial months of the pandemic. As more companies end the temporary pay increases, however, workers are pointing out that their jobs have not become less stressful or risky. 

Businesses ending leases as WFH becomes permanent

“I can’t predict what the pandemic holds. The new reality might be we stay remote forever, or maybe we have two- to three-person office hubs. We’ll play it by ear.”

Tech companies, start-ups, and other organizations are letting the leases for commercial office locations and coworking spaces expire as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and more employees are voicing their preference to continue working from home.

In fact, experts expect that commercial vacancy rates will reach nearly 15% by the first quarter of 2021, as more and more companies are announcing that they will continue having their employees work from home or use scaled-down “hubs” for a few employees at a time.  

SBO confidence climbed in June

“Optimism about future conditions improved and small business owners indicate they expect the recession to be short-lived.”

The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) released data today that showed two consecutive months of increase in small business owner confidence. For the month of June, the index was at just at 100.6, above the 98.0 expected by economists but still below the February 2020 pre-pandemic high of 104.5.

The data presents a snapshot of SBO confidence for last month, which does not take into account the renewed restrictions and lockdowns occurring in states like Texas, Florida, and California, where businesses owners are grappling with the closing again after the brief reprieve in June. 

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