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About Ivana V.

Ivana is a staff writer at SmallBizGenius. Her interests during office hours include writing about small businesses, start-ups, and retail. When the weekend comes, you can find her hiking in nature, hanging off of a cliff or dancing salsa.

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Small Business

The latest data compiled by payroll services company Paychex and information provider IHS Markit shows that national job growth maintained an upward trajectory throughout the month of August. According to the Paychex/IHS Markit employment watch, the economic recovery is continuing despite the Delta variant weighing on small businesses.  Despite concerns about inflation, worker shortages, and the growing number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19, hourly earnings growth increased to 3.42% in August. Meanwhile, the Small Business Jobs Index gained 0.45% last month. It’s now 99.80, increasing 5.74% over the past 12 months. This is a record-high year-over-year growth rate and the highest index level since January 2018.   The fastest-growing sector was leisure and hospitality, with more than double the growth of any other industry. According to Frank Fiorille, Paychex’s Vice President of risk management, compliance, and data analytics, this sector is driving the recovery.  “Wages are starting to go up, especially in the leisure and hospitality segment. We track new hires at these establishments, and the wages are really rising pretty fast as well as signup bonuses, competition to get people to come to work,” Fiorille said. Once the unemployment insurance benefits end on September 6, more workers are expected to flock to job posting sites. Other aid programs are also expiring, such as eviction moratoriums. This is likely to further boost employment figures but will also have a significant impact on the economy at large.  All regions of the country recorded employment gains in August, but the south remains a leader in small business job growth, with Arizona topping the list. Washington had the strongest growth rate, climbing to 12th place among states after being ranked last between June 2020 and July 2021. Meanwhile, Tampa, Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Houston are leading the charge in employment growth among metropolitan areas.  “The West had a really strong month and quarter as well, so the West is starting to come back pretty strongly as well,” Fiorille said. “You’re still seeing new business formation is very strong, so that’s another nice indicator that we’re looking at.”

September 03,2021
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Big Business

Oregon-based small business owners are feeling more optimistic about the future of their companies than they have been at any point since the COVID-19 outbreak began. According to the latest weekly report by the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 75% of Oregon’s company owners expect they’ll be back to the pre-pandemic state of operations in six months or sooner. That’s twice as many as a similar poll reported in August 2020. Around 20% of businesses say they have already returned to normal operations. The percentage of those who think it’ll take over half a year to go back to working at full capacity is declining each month. The data provided in the Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey is just another indicator that the economy of the state of Oregon is well on the road to recovery from the recession that came along with the health crisis. According to the survey, Oregon-based companies are now slightly more upbeat than the national average. The state business owners had been slightly more pessimistic throughout most of the recession. Shutdowns and restrictive measures the COVID-19 pandemic brought on were particularly rough on smaller-sized companies which can hardly afford the reserves that larger enterprises often have. The global health crisis wiped out dozens of popular Oregon restaurants and bars, along with entertainment attractions such as ice rinks and bowling alleys. Still, thanks to the federal aid through small business loans, grants, and stimulus payments, many other businesses managed to stay afloat. Relatively few companies failed, according to state data. The percentage of bankruptcies also decreased last year. With more and more people getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and the virus seemingly fading, the state of Oregon formally reopened on June 30. Considering most restrictions have now been lifted, businesses are looking forward to operating as they did before the pandemic. Still, the damage from a turbulent 15 months cannot disappear right away. The experience of living amidst a pandemic will continue to take its toll on businesses as long as consumers remain in fear of the disease. Nevertheless, rising optimism among businesses highlights that the deepest downturn in Oregon’s history wasn’t as bad as economists initially thought it would be.

July 22,2021
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Finance

Telecommunications giant Vodafone became the latest in a string of companies to ditch Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, Libra. A Vodafone spokesperson said in a statement that the company was leaving the project in order to focus its resources on M-Pesa, a mobile money platform with a presence across a number of African countries. “We have said from the outset that Vodafone’s desire is to make a genuine contribution to extending financial inclusion,” the Vodafone spokesperson explained. “We remain fully committed to that goal. At the moment, we believe we can most effectively bring affordable financial services to the world’s poor by focusing on M-Pesa.”Vodafone joins payments giants Mastercard and Visa that withdrew from Libra last October following heavy scrutiny of Facebook’s embattled digital currency from American regulators and politicians.The bulk of the criticism centers on concerns over Libra’s regulatory uncertainty and the apparent risks it poses to the financial system. PayPal, eBay, Stripe, Mercado Pago, and Booking Holdings have also pulled out of the scheme, dealing a huge blow to Facebook’s vision of a global currency. But despite losing eight of its founding members, the Libra Association is projecting a positive outlook for the year ahead. “The Association is continuing the work to achieve a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of the Libra payment system,” said the association’s head of policy and communications, Dante Disparte.

January 23,2020
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