Small Business Saturday: White House encourages America to buy small

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The White House is encouraging Americans to shop at small businesses on Saturday after nearly two years of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the first cases of COVID-19 began to appear in the United States in 2020, small businesses have struggled to change their operations to remain profitable, which these changes involved changing the layout of indoor stores, improving websites or to offer unique ways of serving food. while meals inside were prohibited.

“Last year, buyers came together in force to support their local communities, and Small Business hit a record high on Saturday with estimated spending of $ 19.8 billion,” the White House said in a statement Friday. “This year, consumer spending during the holidays is expected to break new records.”

Diners are seated at the Carver Hangar, a family-run restaurant and sports bar in Boring, Ore. (AP Photo / Gillian Flaccus, File)

The White House has also touted its efforts to help small businesses amid COVID-19 through President Biden’s US bailout – a $ 1.9 trillion stimulus bill – and “other government programs. traditional loans ”.

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“This year, the SBA oversaw the distribution of nearly $ 416.3 billion in emergency aid to more than 6 million affected small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program ($ 280 billion ), Restaurant Revitalization Fund ($ 28.6 billion), Shuttered Venue Operators grant ($ 13.4 billion). ), the COVID Economic Disaster Lending (EIDL) Program ($ 88 billion) and the COVID EIDL Targeted and Supplementary Advance Programs ($ 6.3 billion combined), “the White House said.

Isabella Casillas Guzman attends a Senate Confirmation Hearing on Small Business and Entrepreneurship on her appointment as Director of the Small Business Administration. (Tasos Katopodis / Pool photo via AP, file)

In fiscal 2021, the Small Business Administration (SBA) provided $ 44.8 billion in financing to small businesses through more than 61,000 loans.

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The White House added that the relief has “directly helped small businesses stay open and keep workers on payrolls, especially for those belonging to our underserved, including women, people of color, veterans and rural and low-income communities “.

The Federal Reserve released a study in April 2021 estimating that around 200,000 additional US businesses closed in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic compared to the number of businesses that closed in previous years.

A vacation hiring sign is displayed at a retail store in Vernon Hills, Ill. On Saturday, November 13, 2021. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh)

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Companies have also struggled to hire and retain workers, with a record 4.4 million workers leaving their jobs in September, according to the Job Openings and Workforce Turnover Survey. work of the Ministry of Labor.

The October jobs report released earlier this month showed hiring resumed last month, with employers adding 531,000 workers, up from 312,000 in September. The unemployment rate slipped 0.2 percentage point to 4.6%.

Jonathan Garber of Fox Business contributed to this report.

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