COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: June 2021

The KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor is an ongoing research project tracking the public’s attitudes and experiences with COVID-19 vaccinations. The most recent update, published June 30, 2021, contains important insights for business leaders that can inform workplace approaches to help end the pandemic.

Are Small Businesses Rebounding from COVID-19?

Reimagine Main Street and its partners fielded a national survey of small business owners from April 28-May 12, 2021 to provide insights into how small businesses are faring and to understand what they expect the near future to bring.

Addressing the Capitalization of CDFI Microlenders

Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) loan funds face a common capitalization challenge as they seek to grow—they must raise net assets to enable the additional debt financing needed to support an expanding portfolio. Among CDFIs that focus on microlending—making small dollar loans of up to $50,000 to small businesses—the financial challenges are even greater, as the revenue earned on these small-dollar, relatively short-term loans typically does not cover the cost to originate and service them (Klein & Okagaki, 2018, 12-14). Thus, CDFI microlenders must also raise grant (subsidy) dollars to support the increase in their lending costs as their portfolio grows.

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.

Promoting Racial Equity through Taxes

Legacies of historical racist policies and ongoing discrimination in areas such as education, employment, and housing have barred many Californians of color from economic opportunities. As a result, Californians of color — particularly Black, Latinx, and American Indian Californians — are less likely to have high incomes and to have built enough wealth to be able to weather periods of income loss, retire comfortably, and pass on wealth to their children. These barriers have also made Californians of color more likely to have experienced health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. One area policymakers should consider in efforts to address these inequities is the state’s tax and revenue policies. Although these policies may appear race-neutral, they can play a significant role in either worsening existing racial and ethnic income and wealth disparities or promoting greater equity for Californians. A policy need not be explicitly racist in order to have racially inequitable outcomes.1 Because many current state tax policies privilege Californians with higher incomes and wealth, they widen existing racial inequities. Policymakers can also use tax policy as a tool to promote racial equity, both by making the tax code itself more equitable, and by raising revenue to invest in the social and economic well-being of Californians of color.