Small businesses are the backbone of the economy - accounting for nearly 50% of this country's jobs. But right now, small businesses are suffering. The economic uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to lay off or furlough working people, scale back operations, or shutter entirely with no hope of returning to business.
The New York Times recently reported that one-third of New York City's small businesses "may be gone forever." Forbes reports that the pandemic and economic crises have "wiped out nearly half of Black small businesses." And even the conservative Chamber of Commerce found that 58% of small businesses worry about having to permanently close.
The CARES Act was a solid start to help small businesses. But Paycheck Protection Program loans meant for small businesses instead went to multi-million-dollar corporations and entities that didn't need the help, siphoning off the already sparse fund. Since the $349 billion in PPP loans dried up, little to nothing has been done to help small businesses get the support they need while consumers regain confidence.
When small-business employees are laid off, that means they spend less in the economy, which causes more small businesses to close. It's a cascade of economic consequences that doesn't have to happen. When we invest in local small businesses, money stays in the community, but when big corporations get cash, it moves out of communities and leaves them without critical resources.
With the COVID-19 pandemic showing no signs of abating - and with the U.S. economy shrinking at a record 32.9% in the second quarter of this year - the reality is that small businesses need help if we're going to get through this crisis and back to anywhere close to normalcy.
That's why we need you to contact your representatives and demand they support getting small businesses the help they need, helping local economies become more resilient, and ensuring that everyday people get through this crisis.