SMB News Weekly Rundown August 4, 2021

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:

July jobs report may fall far below forecaster expectations

“Bottlenecks in hiring continue to hold back stronger gains, particularly in light of new COVID-19 concerns tied to viral variants.”

Preliminary data suggests that the U.S. economy added only 330,000 new jobs during the month of July, a far cry less than the 653,000 new positions forecasted by economists.

The numbers reflect the smallest gain since February and may be due, in part, to the significant labor shortage reported across the country. Hiring also fell for the month.

The leisure and hospitality sector led the way with 139,000 new jobs, followed by education and health services, and professional and business services.

getting covid vaccine

Employees split over employer-mandated vaccinations

“If you look at the divide of who is not vaccinated, it is people of lower income, it is people who are less likely to be insured, it is people in the states that reflect the politicization of the pandemic.”

The country is experiencing another surge: a surge of businesses requiring employees to show proof of vaccination prior to returning to the office. And not all employees are happy about it.

Until recently, companies with vaccination requirements tended to be more white collar organizations. Yet as concerns have grown following the explosion of the Delta and other variants, more and more companies have added the requirement, causing a sharp divide between workers who refuse to come into the office without the vaccine and those who refuse to get it.

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Senate debating labor-friendly PRO Act

“If we’re able to get rid of the retaliation … I think we will see more unions.”

The Senate is currently debating the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, a piece of legislation that could significantly impact both employers and workers if passed.

The legislation has the potential to transform the work dynamics, as it would reclassify many more workers as employees and override states’ right-to-work laws.

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Most states imposing “looking for work” mandate on jobless benefit recipients

“Within the past couple months, pretty much every state has brought back its work-search requirements.”

Before the pandemic, it was common practice for state unemployment programs to require recipients to show proof that they were applying for jobs while drawing the benefit. When the pandemic hit, all states suspended the requirement. Now, all but Illinois, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. have reinstated the job search requirement as a condition of their programs.

The Department of Labor issued a memo last month urging states to require jobless benefit recipients if COVID-19 numbers indicate that it’s safe to do so.

The Latest from Workest

After nearly a year and a half working from home, coming back to the office and interacting with colleagues in person again can feel strange and awkward. Here are 7 Team Building Exercises from Cinnamon Janzer to try with your employees.

No, Mini COBRA is not an offering at the exotic pet store. If your business has fewer than 20 employees and you live in certain states, you may have to offer employees who quit extended healthcare benefits under Mini-COBRA laws. Grace Ferguson explains.

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

  1. Corporate travel might be mounting a minor comeback, but economists say that it’s still only at 30% of what it was in 2019.
  2. Target took a move out of Walmart’s playbook and announced that it too would offer tuition assistance for workers in an attempt to attract and retain talent.
  3. 91% of HR managers said that employee mental health issues made the past year the most challenging of their career to date.
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