The Daily Rundown

SMB News Daily Rundown: Update for June 18

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Small Business News Highlights for June 18: 

  • Movement to make Juneteenth a Federal holiday gaining traction 
  • The New York Times weighs in on what it takes to open small businesses now
  • Jobless claims last week exceed expectations

Companies and workers pushing to make Juneteenth a federal holiday

“If we made Juneteenth a holiday, we would have to do some of that work.”

Juneteenth, the day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, has been celebrated by Black Americans for years and years without any formal recognition from the federal government. Celebrations often involve events like picnics, rodeos, church services and historical programming.

In light of the recent social and racial unrest, many American workers and companies alike are pushing to make the day a federal holiday. All but a handful of states recognize the day as a ceremonial holiday) and both President Obama and President Trump made statements recognizing the day but stopped short of calling for it to become a national holiday. 

It took the Congressional Black Caucus 15 years to succeed in getting Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday recognized as a federal holiday. 

What it will take for small businesses to reopen

“None of the relief packages have included specific funding for safety retrofitting, purchasing of safety equipment or even helping business getting a handle on uniform PPE for employees and customers.”  

Over the past months the country has been in a constant state of conversation about how and when businesses should reopen. A lack of coherent guidelines from federal and state governments and a rise in new hotspots have left small business owners to their own devices and forced them to figure out how to make reopening work as they go

Forefront on many small businesses owner minds: Is the effort worth it? Will all sense of human connection be lost behind face masks and bottles of hand sanitizer? Are customers willing to take the risk? Furthermore, after months of no revenue, many SBOs don’t have the funds to make the necessary changes to their operating model. 

Still, some business owners are forging ahead, and a recent report indicates that early June saw the number of businesses open increase by 16% over mid-April. 

1.5 million file for unemployment last week

It’s not clear why claims are still so high; is it the initial shock still working its way up through businesses away from the consumer-facing jobs lost in the first wave, or is it businesses which thought they could survive now throwing in the towel, or both? Either way, these are disappointing numbers and serve to emphasize that a full recovery is going to take a long time.”

First-time jobless claims reached 1.5 million last week — a number far higher than the expected 1.3 million. Florida and Oklahoma both saw drops in unemployment claims, while Texas saw the biggest increase. 

Currently, the federal benefit that adds $600 per week to state payouts is set to expire at the end of July. 

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