Main Street has been clamoring for a new round of federal relief, with 83% of small business owners in the latest CNBC|SurveyMonkey Small Business Confidence Survey saying they would support a new economic stimulus package to help individuals and businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, after months of stalled talks between Capitol Hill and the White House and as coronavirus cases reach daily new highs, Congress unveiled a new stimulus proposal that seems tailored to meet the dire needs of small businesses across the country, though it was quickly shot down by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
In what would be a boon for small business owners, a key aspect of the new proposal is the allotment of $288 billion in small business aid and to renew this summer’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which the survey results indicate is the leading hope for small business owners struggling to keep the lights on even if their doors are still closed due to the virus. Four in 10 small business owners (41%) support an extension or expansion of the PPP, making this proposal the only one that receives more support among small business owners than among the general public.
The PPP provided funds to businesses that could prove they maintained their payrolls despite business closures and general drop in demand earlier this year. Hiring and retaining workers is always a challenge for small business owners, but it has been especially so in the pandemic.
In the latest update of the quarterly tracking survey, conducted Nov. 10-17 among more than 2,000 small business owners nationwide, about 1 in 5 (19%) say they’ve had to furlough or lay off some or all employees as a result of the coronavirus. Of those who have furloughed or laid off staff members, a majority (58%) have already hired some or all of their workers back, 23% haven’t yet but expect to hire all or some of their workers back, and 19% expect those departures to be permanent.
Those layoffs have been particularly concentrated by industry, with, for example, 33% of small business owners in the accommodation and food services industry but just 10% of those in the real estate industry saying they’ve had to resort to layoffs and furloughs to deal with coronavirus-related business setbacks this year.
Early in the pandemic, policymakers realized the inherent tradeoff between public health and business survival: by encouraging or mandating that businesses shut down and people stay home as much as possible to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus, they would doom many of those businesses to close entirely, or at least to be forced into taking drastic measures in order to stay alive, which would…
Go to the news source: Another Covid-19 stimulus round of PPP would save Main Street jobs