The Daily Rundown

The Small Business Daily Rundown: Parental Leave, Tree Industry Changing, Best States for Small Businesses

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

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It’s Friday. Congratulations on making it through another week. Reward yourself by checking out these stories on the House’s legislation to grant paternal leave to federal civilian employees, the changing shape of the Christmas tree industry and the top states for small businesses

House legislation puts pressure on corporate America for paid parental leave

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday that could potentially have a big impact on expanding paid parental leave policies across the country. While the bill deals specifically with federal civilian employees, big corporations are already signaling their intent to follow suit, and even up the ante. Currently, only 8 states and the District of Columbia have paid family leave laws on the books or pending.

The Number: 12. Among other things, the House’s $738 billion military bill grants 12 weeks of paid parental leave to federal civilian employees. 

The Quote: “It’s the larger employers who tend to start offering new benefits in order to attract and retain employees.”

Christmas tree industry changing, while consumers still feel impact of the Great Recession on tree prices

The cost of evergreens seems to be ever rising. According to experts, the Great Recession hit and customers started tightening their budgets just as a glut of Christmas trees came on the market 10 years ago, and the industry is still evening out today. Meanwhile, the Christmas tree farm industry is going through growing pains. There are approximately 15,000 tree farms across the U.S. and many of the farmers are getting older and getting out of the business, while consumer preferences are changing in the age of environmental awareness.

The Number: 4%. The average cost of Christmas trees was up $3 or 4% last year, putting the price tag at $78. 

The Quote:  “If you want a 10-foot Fraser pine, I wouldn’t wait until Dec. 15 go to looking for that tree — I would go look for it right after Thanksgiving. But if you’re buying 6-foot or 7-foot trees, they’ll probably be out there well into December.”

The best states for self employed and small business

While small businesses are the backbone of America, there are some states that seem to be friendlier to small enterprises than others. New England boasts 3 out of the top 5 states for small businesses, while Alaska comes in at No. 1 for the highest percentage of women-owned businesses.

The Number: $51,419. The median income for self-employed people in the U.S. in 2017 was $51,419. 

The Quote: Small businesses make up 99.1% of the state’s businesses, and employ 53% of the private workforce in Alaska.”

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