The Daily Rundown

SMB News Daily Rundown: Update for July 23

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

Man fills in Unemployment benefits application form.

Small Business News Highlights for July 23: 

  • Treasury says unemployment benefit will aim for 70% of regular wages
  • Retail workers forced to make shift as stores close
  • Economists’ take on payroll tax cuts

“We’re not going to take care of one portion of suffering people and leave everyone else hanging.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced today that the GOP has settled on a stimulus plan that includes extending unemployment benefits with the goal of replacing approximately 70% of a worker’s wages.

The announcement comes as new unemployment claims jumped to 1.4 million last week — the first time claims increased in many weeks, indicating the economy’s recovery is faltering amidst ongoing closures and restrictions.

Meanwhile, House Democratic leadership continues to affirm their commitment to extending the full $600 per week in additional benefits, despite many business owners citing problems recruiting and retaining workers who can make more money, at less risk, by staying on unemployment.

“However, I am now much more mindful of which retailers are pandemic-proof. … Before, it was never a conversation: ‘If the world shut down, what would that look like?’”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape the retail workforce, as more stores are forced to close permanently due to ongoing lockdown restrictions.

In fact, many retail employees are finding that they must pivot to feel new roles, including fulfilling online orders and delivery, instead of traditional sales roles. Retail employers are continuing to grapple with finding new ways to produce revenue without traditional in-store experiences, and dealing with related staffing challenges.

“The proposal re-ups tax breaks for the wealthy and fails to laser focus on vulnerable families that need the most help.”

Despite the White House’s insistence on payroll tax cuts as a means of injecting life into the economy, economists agree that the measure would do little to support a true recovery.

In fact, a recent analysis of the policy proposal found that it would do more to exacerbate the nation’s wealth gap and do little to address the needs of average workers. The analysis supports the need for further direct payments to US families and ways to protect payroll for American small businesses through the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.

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