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Small businesses still face big problems during pandemic

Finding people to fill jobs stunts comeback
Posted at 4:05 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 17:15:32-04

BALTIMORE — Whether it is one of the top welding companies in the region or one of Charm City’s best when it comes to chicken and waffles, Governor Larry Hogan got a sampling of their challenges during a stop in South Baltimore. “Our biggest concern at this point is just staffing---getting team members that will work for us,” said Khari Parker of Connie’s Chicken and Waffles. “because the economics of a smaller business aren’t always as good as the larger businesses.”

On the same day the governor learned the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to its lowest point in over a month, he spoke of the balancing act going on between the health of Marylanders and its small businesses.

“We had a whole team of people working day and night for 500 and some days to try to worry about lives and livelihoods,” said Hogan. “Maybe we didn’t get everything right, but I feel pretty good about where we are compared to the other 49 states.”

In fact, the governor points out the state added 22,000 jobs last month.

The hope is now that inflated unemployment checks have ended, more people will return to work.

But according to a survey by Goldman Sachs, who sponsored the small business roundtable, creating jobs and filling them are two separate things.

“73 percent of small businesses are hiring,”said Matt Rhodes of Goldman Sachs. “87 percent of them are having trouble with that hiring process.”

That same survey suggests two out of five business owners have less than three months of cash reserves leaving their businesses and workers vulnerable if there is another shutdown.