Biden extends PPP loan program through May and other economic news
Biden extends PPP loans until May
President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a law extending the period in which small businesses must apply for forgivable loans to help offset the costs of the coronavirus pandemic, hailing it as a “bipartisan achievement.”
Biden, in a brief Oval Office ceremony, said he was proud to sign the legislation, saying without it people would lose their jobs.
The legislation will extend the deadline for the paycheck protection program to May 31 from March 31, which will give businesses two more months to apply. The law also gives the Small Business Administration an additional 30 days to process loans, in an effort to reduce longer wait times after the government begins to filter applications more strictly to prevent fraud.
The program – first created under the Trump administration – provides small businesses with no-fee loans guaranteed by the federal government. Payroll, rent, and operating expenses can be waived, meaning many of the loans will be converted into federal government grants. The SBA says it has approved more than 8.7 million loans valued at over $ 734 billion.
Some $ 194.5 billion has already been forgiven by the government, according to agency data.
Consumer confidence highest in 12 months
U.S. consumer confidence jumped in March to its highest level in a year, helped by increased vaccinations and increased economic support from the government.
The Conference Board said on Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 109.7 in March, the best performance since it was 118.8 in March of last year as the pandemic began to hit states -United. The index was 90.4 in February.
The current conditions index, based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions, rose to 110.0 from 89.6 in February. The expectations index, based on consumers’ outlook for income, business and labor market conditions six months later, also improved, to 109.6 in March from 90.9 in February. .
Conference Board senior indicator director Lynn Franco said the significant improvement in the index and its two main components was a good sign for future economic growth.
“The renewed optimism of consumers has boosted their buying intentions for homes, cars and several big-ticket items,” Franco said. But he noted that concerns about inflation had also increased, possibly due to rising gasoline prices, which could temper spending in the coming months.
German union contract gives “corona” bonus
Germany’s largest industrial union and employers have reached a deal that will give workers a one-time ‘corona bonus’ and contemplates an additional annual payment from next year.
Tuesday’s deal between employers and the IG Metall union was reached in Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia. But it is common for such agreements to be applied across the country and to several million workers in the auto and machinery industries, among others.
The agreement provides for a “corona bonus” of 500 euros ($ 589) for each employee to be paid in June.
Feit Electric adds 120 jobs in Atlanta
The company that makes and sells electrical components will invest more than $ 25 million to create a distribution center in suburban Atlanta and hire 120.
Los Angeles-based Feit Electric said on Tuesday it had purchased a 270,000 square foot warehouse from McDonough. President Alan Feit said the company chose the location because it plans to import more than 5,000 shipping containers of electrical components annually through the Port of Savannah.
The move is driven by the expansion of the company’s automated home control and LED lighting business, Feit said, as well as the need for flexible delivery options for customers.
Private company Feit Electric sells its products through retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Costco, and Ace Hardware.
– Compiled by Dave Flessner