SMB News Weekly Rundown for May 5

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:

Man fills in Unemployment benefits application form.

Paycheck Protection Program stops taking applications as money runs out

“The P.P.P. general fund is closed to new applications.”

Nearly a month before it was set to expire, the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) announced that it is no longer accepting new applications and out of funds.

Technically, the program still has $8 billion of funds in reserve, earmarked for community lenders that serve minority businesses. These lenders will still be able to accept and process applications from qualified businesses.

U.S. economy adds 742,000 private payroll jobs in April

The U.S. economy added just under 750,000 private payroll jobs in April, posting the largest gain since September of last year, though falling short of many analysts’ expectations.

First quarter numbers for 2021 indicate that, overall, the economy is making a strong, though highly uneven comeback. The economy is still 8 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic numbers, gains were made in across many industries and new jobless claims hit a new pandemic low.

Despite the persistently high unemployment rate, many businesses continue to report difficulty attracting and hiring qualified workers. And the state of Montana, for one, is going to do something about it …


Montana ends expanded unemployment benefits

“Montana is open for business again, but I hear from too many employers throughout our state who can’t find workers.” 

The governor of Montana announced this week that the state will end participation in the federal government’s expanded unemployment benefits in an attempt to encourage unemployed workers to go back to work. Governor Gianforte said he believes the program was doing more harm than good and ultimately hampering economic recovery in his state.

Starting June 27th, unemployed people in Montana will no longer receive the additional $300 per week in unemployment benefits provided by the federal government. Instead, workers who complete 4 weeks at a new job will receive a one-time $1,200 bonus from the state. The incentive program was approved by a bipartisan advisory committee.

women speaking with each other in office

Women lose $800 billion in income last year after pandemic causes many to quit workforce

“Instead of righting that wrong, governments treated women’s jobs as dispensable — and that has come at a cost of at least $800 billion in lost wages for those in formal employment.”

If you add up the GDP of more than 98 countries, you still wouldn’t reach $800 billion or the total value of the wages lost by women around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to new data from Oxfam International, women worldwide lost 64 million jobs last year, which represents 5% of all jobs held by women.

Department of Labor reverses gig worker rule

“By withdrawing the Independent Contractor Rule, we will help preserve essential worker rights and stop the erosion of worker protections that would have occurred had the rule gone into effect.”

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh announced that the DOL is reversing a rule that makes it easier for app-based employers, like Lyft and Uber, to classify workers as independent contractors under federal law. The DOL believes that the rule was in contradiction to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The rule, which was finalized in January during the final days of the Trump Administration, made it difficult for many gig workers to qualify for benefits such as paid sick leave and minimum wage.

The Latest from Workest

Expanded and extended unemployment benefits might have made it hard to attract candidates, but there are ways to compete. Catherine Tansey presents 4 Tips to Attract Employees.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or simply refreshing the old edition, check out Grace Ferguson’s guide to building an employee handbook.

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

  1. Nearly 1 in 3, or 70 million, adult Americans have a criminal record … and face serious barriers to reentering the workforce. What could second-chance hiring do for your business?
  2. After banning societal and political discussions on internal chat forums, one company saw more than a third of its employees leave.
  3. We’ve heard plenty about employers requiring workers and patrons to don masks. But what about employers who won’t allow employees to wear masks in the workplace?

Check out our People Ops Podcast episode “Handling a tricky conversation: When someone is not ready for a promotion”


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