Fox Business/Daniella Genovese
Over half of small-business owners fear coronavirus will close their operations by mid-2021

A swath of small-business owners who have been fighting tooth and nail to keep their operations alive during the economic downturn fear their businesses won’t make it in the new

year, according to a new report.

Only 43% of small-business owners believe they have the means to survive through June 2021, according to Alignable’s Small Business Funding Needs report.

The data, released Wednesday, showed that nearly half of all small businesses are at risk of closing by year’s end.

About 48% of owners say they are generating revenues below what they needed to stay in business, a 6% increase from September, when 42% reported they were at risk.

“It’s been nine long, frustrating months for small business owners as they’ve worked tirelessly to save their businesses, livelihoods, and the jobs of everyone they employ,” Alignable

CEO Eric Groves wrote in the report.

Groves noted that although droves of small-business owners took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program — established by Congress earlier this year to infuse businesses

with the funds need to keep employees on the payroll — it was a short-term fix.

Now, 87% say they need additional funds to survive with 60% admitting that the need is “critical.”

To help, roughly 82% of the more than 5,000 business owners surveyed said they were looking for loans of $100,000 or less.

Businesses also said that some type of rental assistance, a short-term one-year loan with interest of about 1% or a longer-term, 30-year loan, with a 4% fixed interest rate would help.

Alignable has collected more than 556,000 business owner responses since mid-March in order to assess the recovery of small businesses across the United States and Canada.

Its latest report covered 6,300 U.S. business owner responses during the first week of December.

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CNBC/Evelyn Cheng
No reset in sight for U.S.-China relations, economist says

Hope is fading for a significant change in U.S.-China relations under President-elect Joe Biden, Alicia Garcia-Herrero, Natixis’ chief economist for Asia-Pacific, said on Thursday.

Relations between the U.S. and China have spiraled downward under President Donald Trump’s administration in the last four years.

Ahead of the election, Natixis economists had hoped the two countries could return to better terms under new leadership in the White House.

“Frankly speaking, the first words we’ve heard from Biden aren’t very appealing,” Garcia-Herrero said on a call with reporters.

Over the last four years, Trump’s administration has used tariffs, sanctions and strongly worded statements against Beijing. The tough approach sought to address longstanding

complaints about unfair business practices such as forced technology transfers and intellectual property theft.

But Trump’s “America First” platform and tendency toward abrupt announcements on Twitter disturbed many U.S. allies. The uncertainty and tariffs also hurt many businesses,

both American and Chinese.

No reset in sight

As the Biden administration seeks to rebuild relationships with American allies, analysts expect the new leader to keep a firm line on China.

Garcia-Herrero pointed to increasingly tough talk on China from Europe, Australia, U.S. Congress and Nato, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The tone from Beijing is also

very defensive, she added.

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CNN Business/Anneken Tappe
US unemployment claims hit their highest level since mid-September

America’s job market recovery has hit a bump in the road.

Another 853,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It was the largest

number of claims since mid-September.

Not adjusting for seasonality, initial claims stood at nearly 950,000.

Initial jobless claims rose versus the prior week, marking the third increase in the past four weeks. Last week’s decline came on the heels of the Thanksgiving holiday.

“The surge in initial claims is especially concerning when claims are still above levels near the peak of the Great Recession,” said Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao.

On top of regular applications for jobless benefits, 427,609 workers filed claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which is designed to help people such as

the self-employed. It was also an increase from the prior week. This number is not adjusted for seasonality.

Together, first-time claims totaled 1.4 million last week, not adjusted for seasonal changes, also the highest level since mid-September.

The numbers don’t bode well for the labor market recovery.

Continued jobless claims, which count workers who have filed for unemployment benefits for at least two weeks in a row, rose to 5.8 million with seasonal adjustments in the week

ended November 28. It was the first increase in continued claims since late August.

Economists have been looking closely at continued jobless claims, as they suspected that declines might be due to workers rolling onto other programs, such as the Pandemic

Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, after exhausting their state benefits.

The number of people on PEUC benefits ticked down to 4.5 million in the week ended November 21. But because the data lags behind other numbers in the report it does not yet

reflect the clearly worsening conditions.

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