Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Small Business News Highlights for July 21:
- Federal lawmakers begin negotiations about next round of COVID-19 relief
- Unemployment hits major urban areas hard
- Small business sales surge on Amazon
“We will begin our conversations today. It is my hope that we can resolve our differences and have a bill by the end of next week.”
Congress negotiating next round of COVID-19 relief
White House officials and Republican Senate leaders met early today in an attempt to hammer out the specifics of their plan for the next round of COVID-19 economic relief before meeting with House and Senate Democrats to begin negotiations.
Many congressional Republicans are opposed to the White House’s plan for payroll tax breaks as the primary means to stimulate the economy, though fall short of the Democrats’ call for trillions of dollars more of aid to go directly to Americans. Members of both parties continue to call for funds to expand testing capabilities, provide personal protective equipment, and prepare for mass production of vaccines.
While Republicans are generally against continuing expanded unemployment benefits, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the proposal will include billions of dollars for reopening schools, another round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program to support small businesses, and even direct payments to individuals.
Unemployment hits major urban areas hard
“The local business mix and policies around mandated business closures are likely partly responsible for elevated joblessness in some major urban areas.”
An analysis of recent unemployment data reveals a troubling fact: jobless claims in cities like New York and L.A. rose in June even as the overall rate fell nationwide. In fact, the unemployment rate in these urban areas is hovering around 20% — or 1 in 5 Americans — which is nearly twice the national average.
The problem is especially pronounced in New York City, which depends on the entertainment and tourism industries for a significant number of jobs. Los Angeles faces similar problems as theaters and indoor dining remain closed due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
Small businesses sales surge on Amazon
“Third-party sellers have seen record sales in our stores and continue to outpace our first-party sales.”
Amazon’s recent investments in small business seller platforms and technology have paid off, with the on-line retail hub announcing that they have seen a 60% increase in small business sales since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only has the overall business revenue for online small business sellers increased, Amazon reports that the actual number of small businesses using their platform has also increased by 20%.