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 March 24:
- President Trump signals again desire to ease restrictions to jumpstart economy
- As many small businesses fail, some large companies are hiring thousands of new employees
- Congress close to finalizing more COVID-19 stimulus legislation
“Our country was not built to be shut down. We are going to be opening up our country for business because our country was meant to be open.”
Despite the objections of numerous doctors and health officials, President Trump today stated that he wants to ease restrictions in order to have the economy “open” by Easter. While he acknowledged that things were very bad and getting worse as the number of infections rises in New York city and across the U.S., President Trump continues to maintain that it’s time to reopen American businesses.
This assertion comes into direct conflict with mayors, city administrators, and governors around the country who are ordering more and more non-essential businesses to shutter and people to stay home under all but the most extreme circumstances.
Scott Gottlieb, former head of the FDA, and others argue that the economy will never bounce back as long as the pandemic rages unchecked: “There’s a strong and understandable desire to return to better times and a functioning economy. But it should not be lost on anyone that there’s no such thing as a functioning economy and society so long as COVID-19 continues to spread uncontrolled in our biggest cities.”
“The whole point of paid sick leave is to not force workers to have to choose between their livelihoods and their health or the health of their kids — but these workers are going to be put in that position.”
As millions of Americans continue to do their part by staying indoors and limiting close contact, many large companies are hiring thousands of employees to meet demand for delivery of food and other goods. Instacart alone plans to double its shoppers by hiring an additional 300,000 independent contractors, and Walmart and Amazon are both looking to add thousands of workers to their warehouse and supply chain operations. In general, transportation and logistics hiring is up 7% since the middle of this month.
“We had asked for 4 months and 4 months looks like what we’re going to get.”
Congressional leaders and White House negotiators indicate that they are closing in on the third piece of legislation bringing economic relief to the nation. The $2 trillion package includes taxpayer assistance for individuals and companies, cash checks for American workers, and bolster unemployment insurance. The bill specifically earmarks $367 billion for small businesses and expands eligibility for unemployment, adds $600 per week to the benefit, and extends the period of coverage to four months.
In response to the bill, the Dow made its biggest one-day jump since 1933.