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Economic Bulletin May 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic was an economic shock to small firms and the effects were not easily predictable. An unprecedented number of establishments closed at least temporarily, jobs are rebounding but have not yet reached pre-pandemic levels, proprietor’s income rebounded quicky, and business bankruptcies seem unaffected so far. Financial conditions have improved and remain accommodative to economic growth. Meanwhile, financing remains reasonably tight for small businesses with subpar credit scores.

Small Biz Owners on American Rescue Plan

Small Business for America’s Future released a national survey of small business owners about their feelings toward the American Jobs Plan and the tax code.

PPP Loans Marred by Racial Disparities

An analysis of Paycheck Protection Program lending reveals stark disparities across the country. In the LA area, businesses in White neighborhoods received loans at a far higher rate than in Latinx, Black and Asian ones.

SBA Semiannual Report to Congress

More than a year has passed since the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic sparked a nationwide economic crisis. Since March 2020, our focus has been on providing oversight of SBA’s pandemic response efforts to combat program fraud, ensuring these programs are being efficiently and effectively managed.

2021 Report on Firms Owned by BIPOC

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted communities of color and small busi- nesses of color, in many cases to a greater extent than their white counterparts. Prior to the pandemic, small businesses owned by people of color, in aggregate, faced greater challenges than white-owned firms The 2020 Small Business Credit Survey (SBCS) provides evidence that the pandemic exacerbated those challenges, an important finding as those businesses continue to weather the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

State of the Older Entrepreneur during COVID-19

Business ownership has the potential to be a financial bulwark, especially for business owners of color. Age 45+ business owners entered the pandemic with much stronger financial cushions than similar age employees and business owners under the age of 45. However, our analysis of survey data for small employer firms collected in late 2020 and detailed interviews with 25 business owners finds that older small business owners, and particularly business owners of color, had difficulty accessing funds to stay open and have experienced significant personal financial hardship during the pandemic. The future of these businesses—and the owners’ personal financial lives—is particularly salient, given that they are the lion’s share of small businesses.

Wealth Equity & Employee Ownership

Drawing on recent research, this issue brief – co-authored by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program, the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, and the Democracy at Work Institute – makes a case for why policymakers, funders, and investors who care about racial and gender wealth equity should support employee share ownership. Informed by a roundtable discussion which brought together researchers, philanthropic leaders, investors, policy experts, and advocates, the paper provides a set of concrete policy and practice ideas to expand employee ownership and advance equity and economic justice. We hope this paper contributes to a broader collaborative effort to spread employee share ownership policies and practices that support economic recovery and lay the foundation for a more equitable and resilient economy.

1 Million Black Businesses Survey

HOPE and SurveyMonkey released the findings of the inaugural HOPE Minority Small Business Index survey which examines the sentiments and attitudes of aspiring and established Black business owners. Our inaugural survey, the first of its kind, demonstrates a high level of resiliency on the part of African American business owners.

Science/Tech Workers and Small Firms

Small businesses play a special role in innovation. In 2018, 37% of high-tech workers worked for small businesses. According to the Census Bureau’s data series, Innovation Measurement Initiative, the bulk of STEM-related researchers working on funded research at universities go into the private sector after completing their research, and a significant share go on to work at small businesses.

Women Business Ownership 2017-2018

Women-owned firms made up only 19.9% of all firms that employed people in the United States in 2018 but their numbers are growing.

There were 6,861 more women-owned firms in 2018 than in 2017, up 0.6% to 1.1 million, according to the Census Bureau’s Annual Business Survey (ABS).