REPORT: HOW THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN HELPED SMALL BUSINESSES THROUGH THE PANDEMIC

Small businesses are bouncing back thanks to the American Rescue Plan. Here’s a more detailed look at how the bill helped businesses and families across the nation.

The coronavirus pandemic devastated small businesses across the country, closing 34% of small businesses and costing restaurants and bars over $280 billion in sales. 

In the United States, small businesses account for 99.9% of all businesses, employing more than 46.8% of all U.S workers. These businesses needed help. So in March 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, delivering billions of dollars in economic relief for workers, families, and small businesses across the country. 

The American Rescue Plan rushed critical COVID supplies to hospitals and first responders, boosted vaccine distribution, funded safety improvements in schools, and spent billions supporting state and local governments and their economies. A large part of this emergency aid was targeted directly at small businesses and their employees. For families struggling to make ends meet, the assistance offered by the American Rescue Plan was a lifeline.

Today, not only did the American Rescue Plan ensure that millions of small businesses hit by the pandemic survived, and millions of workers could support their families, it laid the groundwork for an economic boom. While prices have increased as a result of the pandemic and corporate greed, American jobs are returning at record pace

This year, the American economy created 6.6 million jobs, “easily the biggest single-year gain in U.S. history” [CNBC]. And for small businesses and entrepreneurs, Americans created nearly 5.4 million private businesses in 2021, a 68% increase from the 2015-2019 average of 3.2 million per year.

American Rescue Plan Delivered Billions In Aid To Small Businesses Through PPP, Grants, and Targeted Support

  • Over 6 million small businesses impacted by the pandemic received relief last year. In total, nearly $416.3 billion was delivered to help small businesses through several American Rescue Plan programs, including the following:
    • Paycheck Protection Program ($280 billion)
    • Restaurant Revitalization Fund ($28.6 billion)
    • Shuttered Venue Operators Grant ($13.4 billion)
  • The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant has awarded funding to nearly 13,000 live venues, theaters, and other entertainment and cultural hubs.
  • The COVID EIDL Targeted and Supplemental Advance programs supported the hardest-hit businesses and private nonprofits from low-income communities.
    • The programs have provided almost 500,000 small businesses with approximately $6.3 billion in financial relief, helping businesses come back from the pandemic.
  • American Rescue Plan funds have been a boon for America’s local businesses.  

Restaurant Revitalization Fund Supported Over 100,000 Restaurants and Saved an Estimated 900,000 Jobs 

  • The Restaurant Revitalization Fund has supported more than 100,000 restaurants and other food and beverage businesses by delivering $28.6 billion in relief.
  • Of the $28.6 billion allocated, $18 billion in critical relief aid has been distributed to women-owned small businesses ($7.5 billion), veteran-owned small businesses ($1 billion), and socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses ($6.7 billion). [Small Business Administration]
  • The National Restaurant Association estimated that over 900,000 restaurant jobs were saved as a result of the initial round of Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants.
  • Restaurant owners who received RRF grants agreed that the American Rescue Plan helped them stay in business and keep employees on payroll.
  • 96% of RRF recipients said the grant made it more likely that they would be able to stay in business during the pandemic. [National Restaurant Association]
  • 85% of RRF recipients said the grant helped them retain or hire back employees that would otherwise have been temporarily or permanently laid off. [National Restaurant Association]

American Rescue Plan Helped Americans Create Their Own Small Businesses At Record Rates In 2021

  • In the first six months of 2021, Americans filed a record-breaking 955,100 applications to start new businesses that were likely to hire employees, 45 percent higher than at that point in 2009.
  • The Census Bureau reported that Americans created nearly 5.4 million private businesses in 2021, 68 percent higher than the 2015-2019 average of 3.2 million per year.
  • The American Rescue Plan’s policies helped fuel a much faster and stronger recovery than the 2008 financial crisis. According to CBS News, “by comparison, in the years after the Great Recession fewer than 2 million new business applications were filed each year through September.”
    • While exact comparisons can be difficult to determine, estimates show that our current economic recovery has taken place at eight times the speed of the Great Recession.