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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Ransomware attack impacts U.S. small businesses over holiday weekend

“The impact of this incredibly sophisticated attack has been very minimal. Unfortunately this happened. It happens. Doesn’t make it okay. It just means it’s the way the world we live in is today.”

Between 800 and 1,500 U.S. small businesses were involved in one of the largest ever ransomware attacks.

Hackers breached Kaseya, a company that sells network management software to other companies, over the July 4th holiday weekend. While not all companies involved were impacted, Kaseya’s products are used by roughly 800,000 to 1 million small businesses in the U.S. and around the world.

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U.S. job openings reach record high in May

“The enigma of a worker shortage at a time when millions of Americans remain out of work likely reflects a myriad of factors including child care challenges, lingering coronavirus concerns and expanded jobless benefits. Those factors will likely abate in the coming months though, supporting additional hiring.”

The United States had a record-breaking 9.21 million job openings in May of this year, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, with 3.6 million people leaving their job voluntarily.

Meanwhile, the latest jobs report showed an increase of 850,000 non-farm payroll positions for June.

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Employers turn to tax credits to offset hiring costs

“A lot of people think of a tax credit as a reimbursement coming later, but this gets paid upfront.

Small business owners struggling to keep up with rising wages and the cost of benefits are turning to the federal Employee Retention Credit (ERC) to bring in cash to help meet hiring needs.

The ERC provides cash to small businesses based on wages paid to employees and payroll taxes.

Man fills in Unemployment benefits application form.

Workers suing states over ending federal unemployment benefits

In both cases, the judges were like, ‘It’s a cruel thing to do given what the statutes state, and it’s 100% federal money.'”

Judges in Maryland and Indiana sided with workers who sued their respective states about the premature end to the federally subsidized unemployment benefits.

The judges in both Maryland and Indiana ordered the states to resume unemployment payments until all the lawsuits filed by unemployed people have been resolved.

Ohio and Texas are also facing lawsuits over similar issues and employment experts expect a wave of lawsuits in the rest of the Republican-led states that ended expanded benefits before the federally set deadline at the end of the summer.

Pandemic accelerated employers’ reliance on automation

“Once a job is automated, it’s pretty hard to turn back.”

Labor shortages and ongoing concerns about social distancing during COVID-19 have caused many employers to turn to automation to meet their workforce needs, a move that will likely result in permanently lost jobs.

In fact, in a 2020 survey, 43% of companies indicated they planned to reduce their workforce with technology in the coming year. While the trend toward automation started before the pandemic, COVID-19 accelerated employers’ reliance on AI and machines.

The Latest from Workest

It’s hard to believe that it’s time to start talking about open enrollment already, but here we are. Get a jump on preparations by taking a look at Key Dates You Need to Know for Open Enrollment 2022.

Did any of your employees pull up tent stakes and move during the pandemic? Here are some tips for handling long-distance employees from Catherine Tansey to help smooth the transition.

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

  1. Here’s a new benefit to consider: Amazon will pay employees $170 per month to ride their bikes to work.
  2. Researchers in Iceland bolster the argument for a 4-day work week, citing data that shows that productivity doesn’t suffer during a shortened week.
  3. A spike in construction-related jobs could mean good news for the housing crunch.
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