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:

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Over 500,000 private sector jobs added to U.S. economy in March

“Companies were hiring again in March and the economy was roaring.”

An additional 517,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in the month of March, representing the biggest gains since last September.

While this number fell short of forecasts by some economists, the strong showing was led by the leisure and hospitality, construction, and manufacturing industry.

Meanwhile, the number of Americans filing new unemployment claims has dropped to the lowest level since the start of the pandemic.

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Paycheck Protection Program officially extended until May 31, 2021

“A group of more than 100 trade organizations called on Congress to extend the program until at least June 30.”

Congress voted on the PPP Extension Act of 2021 last week and President Joe Biden signed it into law yesterday, giving businesses until May 31, 2021 to apply for funds from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

Prior to the program’s extension, businesses only had until March 31, 2021 to apply for the federal government-backed forgivable loans that made up a large part of the government’s efforts to keep small businesses from closing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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President Biden expected to end Trump Administration ban temporary foreign workers

“Among those affected by the restrictions are skilled foreign workers on so-called H-1B visas that let U.S. employers temporarily hire foreign employees in specialty occupations.”

The Trump Administration’s directive from June 2020 that temporarily banned foreign national workers from coming to the U.S. is set to expire today. President Biden is expected to let the policy expire, rolling back the restriction placed on companies’ ability to hire overseas talent to meet their workforce needs.

Among other measures designed to reshape the U.S. economy, the American Jobs Plan — as it’s called — will give all Americans access to high speed internet broadband, create 2 million new homes, replace every lead pipe in the country, and provide electric vehicle charging stations across the country.

White House unveils $2 trillion infrastructure plan that would reshape U.S. economy

“It’s about jobs. It’s about investing in the industries of the future. And it’s about rebuilding parts of our communities that have long been forgotten.”

The White House announced today the first part of a sweeping infrastructure plan aimed at creating jobs, revamping the U.S. transportation system, combatting industry-related climate change, and much more.

Man fills in Unemployment benefits application form.

13 states waiving tax break for pandemic unemployment payments

The American Rescue Plan, Congress’s most recent relief package, waived federal taxes on the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits. Thirteen states, however, are not following suit, leaving people on the hook to pay state income taxes on these unemployment payments.

The states include: Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

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Small businesses see high rate of employee turnover over past 12 months

“It’s encouraging to hear from so many business owners who are taking the time to better understand why their employees are leaving so they can proactively address these concerns for current and prospective workers.”

New data indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic fueled higher-than-normal rates of employee turnover at small businesses over the past 12 months.

According to responses from 1,000 U.S. small business owners, employee turnover at small businesses reached up to 20% over the last year, representing the highest rate of turnover in many years. 97% of business owners attribute the turnover to the COVID-19 pandemic and, in response, have begun looking at ways to strengthen employee retention.

The Latest from Workest

For organizations concerned with creating a robust diversity and inclusion policy, following Riia O’Donnell’s 9 Ways to Ensure that Employees are Welcomed and Included can go a long way toward helping create a company culture that truly is inclusive.

Thinking about pulling up tent stakes and trying out a new location? If your business is portable and you want to set up shop somewhere else, here’s a helpful guide to moving your business to a new state.

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

  1. While not everyone is quite ready to return to the office, many workers do admit that they miss aspects of their commute, including the opportunity to read, listen to podcasts or take a break from their kids.
  2. The Suez Canal isn’t the only site of global shipping backlogs that impact supply chains and businesses. Currently, thousands of container ships are stuck offshore, with 24 ships waiting to unload containers in Southern California alone.
  3. A new poll found that 63% of Americans want the federal government to buy U.S.-made goods, even if they’re significantly more expensive.
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