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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Following the news that the Paycheck Protection Program had run out of funding and stopped accepting most new applications, the White House unveiled data for its $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), which it said saw “extremely high demand.”

Why it matters: Small businesses play an important role in the U.S. economy and many, especially those in the services sector like restaurants and bars, are still struggling with a disproportionate number forced to close for good because of revenue losses from the pandemic.

What's happening: There has been "a slow recovery of the small business services sector, with a substantial fraction of businesses still closed," a report released Wednesday by the New York Fed finds.

  • "While employment has partially recovered as businesses reopened, currently closed businesses still account for a 25 percent drop in employment relative to February 2020."

The big picture: Businesses that have been closed for a long time are unlikely to reopen and those that do are likely to hire only a small percentage of the workers back, the NY Fed's analysis found.

  • That will reduce employment gains, consumer spending and GDP growth.

What we're reading: "The data reveal that 35 percent of businesses that were active prior to the pandemic are still closed and that most have been inactive for twenty weeks or longer," the NY Fed's research analysis of data from Homebase reports.

  • "We estimate that each additional week of being closed reduces the probability that a business reopens by 2 percentage points. Moreover, an additional week of business closure lowers the share of workers that are rehired at reopening."
  • "Our estimates imply that only about 4 percent of the workers that are still laid off from the currently closed businesses will eventually be rehired by these businesses."

By the numbers: In its first two days, the White House says 186,200 restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses across the country applied for relief.

  • 97,600 applications came from restaurants, bars and other eligible businesses owned and controlled by women (46,400), veterans (4,200), socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (30,800) or some combination of the three (16,200).
  • Such businesses, which were disproportionately impacted during the pandemic, will receive priority for funding during the first three weeks of the program.
  • 61,700 applications came from businesses with under $500,000 in annual pre-pandemic revenue.

One level deeper: Restaurants and bars are "eligible for grants equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss, with a cap of $10 million per business and $5 million per location," the White House said.

  • The funds must be used by March 2023 and do not need to be repaid provided the money is used for eligible expenses like payroll, suppliers, mortgages, maintenance and rent — making it far broader than the PPP.

Go deeper

Corporate profit margins at record high despite rising costs

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

America’s biggest companies have managed to achieve record-high profit margins, despite rising input costs.

Why it matters: Raw materials inflation and wage hikes have had almost no noticeable effect on corporate earnings. Still, analysts warn it may just be a matter of time before those costs catch up with margins.

43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.

CBC members nix border visit

A Haitian migrant carries a toddler on his shoulders today as he crosses the Rio Grande River. Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images

Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus weighed visiting the U.S.-Mexico border this week to investigate the conditions faced by Haitian migrants and protest allegations of inhumane treatment by U.S. agents.

Why it matters: It's a thorny proposition both in terms of timing and messaging. Going assures a new wave of negative headlines for President Biden amid sinking popularity. And with congressional deadlines in the coming days over infrastructure, a possible government shutdown and debt-limit crisis, Democrats can't afford to lose any votes in the House.