SMB News Weekly Rundown

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

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Small Business News Highlights:

Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales fall in response to extended deal offers

“Target, Walmart, grocers and sporting goods stores are cleaning up, but hundreds of thousands of independent retailers have already gone out of business. Things are going to get worse before they get better.”

Preliminary data is indicating that the number of Black Friday weekend shoppers dropped, and that those who did make purchases spent less than they did a year ago.

Approximately 186 million Americans made online or in-store purchases from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, according to the National Retail Federation. Overall spending fell by about 14%, from an average of $362 to $312.

For small business owners who have stepped up their online sales, the holiday season has provided a much-needed boost in revenue, with some analysts citing a 110% increase in online sales since the start of the holiday shopping season.

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Hiring falls in November

“While November saw employment gains, the pace continues to slow.”

The private sector added an additional 307,000 jobs in November, with small businesses accounting for approximately 110,000 of the new positions.

Despite the fact that the number does represent an overall increase, the total was well below the forecast and represented the slowest rate of growth since July of this year.

Unemployment continued to fall, however, from 6.9% to 6.7%.

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Employment websites step up their game to help get people back to work

“The world has changed, and how people get hired has changed.”

Recruiting websites and social media channels are hoping to make that rate fall even more by adding features to help job seekers find work. By allowing users to search based on certain location and other criteria, tag themselves as “looking for work” or take advantage of personal connections and referrals, these channels hope that out-of-work people will be able to quickly and efficiently connect with open positions.

LinkedIn takes the new services a step further, allowing users to map their skills and experience and then shows how they can pivot those in-demand skills to another job or industry.

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Stimulus negotiations: Bipartisan bill rejected by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

“If I had to spend $180 billion …  I would rather spend it on stimulus checks than spend it on unemployment benefits.”

A Bipartisan group of federal lawmakers announced a new $908 billion stimulus package yesterday, aimed at fulfilling the requirements of both Republican and Democratic leadership. The measure was immediately dismissed, however, by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The plan did not include funds for more cash payments to American families, despite the urging of many economists to put money directly in the hands of consumers.

On the other side of Washington, DC, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell continue to act quickly to provide aid to small businesses and unemployed workers.

covid-19 vaccine

Ahead of coronavirus vaccination distribution, employers wonder if they can mandate the shot

“If someone’s not willing to wear a mask, do you think they’re going to put a shot in their body?”

While the news of safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 have helped the stock market rally and buoyed the hopes of millions of people around the world, many employers are already grappling with how to ensure that their workforce gets vaccinated.

Logistics and supply issues notwithstanding, many employers worry that the politicization of the vaccine and safety concerns will cause many people to refrain from getting jabbed.

Employers are waiting for specific guidance from federal agencies on whether they can mandate the vaccine, who will pay for it, and how to best deliver shots to workers.

The Latest from Workest

If December snuck up on you and you’re still scrambling to get your bearings, it might be a good idea to take a look at this free Small Business and HR compliance calendar.

If creating an employee handbook was on your list of resolutions for 2019 and you still haven’t gotten around to it, Cinnamon Janzer’s Employee Handbook Checklist for 2021 can help jumpstart your creative juices and streamline the process of creating this ultra-important HR document.

Finally, before we say good-bye for the week, here are 3 things you should know:

  1. A CNBC/Survey Monkey Small Business Survey has found that SBO confidence dropped to an all-time low for 2020 following the election of Joe Biden last month.
  2. UPS ordered drivers to temporarily stop picking up packages from large retailers like Macy’s, Gap, Nike, and L.L. Bean after Thanksgiving Day online sales overwhelm the company.
  3. A small business owner gave his employees a cash bonus with a catch: spend the money at another small business.
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