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Data: Census Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey; Chart: Axios Visuals

New findings from a weekly U.S. Census survey show that things might be slowly looking up for small businesses — or at least steadying.

The big picture: The number of companies reporting severe problems from COVID-19 — or of temporary closings or having to cut employee hours — has been dropping. At the same time, far more said they had received aid through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

By the numbers: The Census Bureau has surveyed tens of thousands of small businesses over the last several weeks and has released three weeks worth of results.

  • In the first batch of results, 38% of all respondents said they had received PPP money vs. 67% in the third batch.
  • In the most recent survey, 62% had seen revenues decline in the past week, but that was down from 74% in the first week.

Yes, but: It's still bad. And more and more small business owners (35%) say they don't expect be back to normal operations for more than 6 months.

  • Some states and territories have been harder hit than others. For example, in 12 states (plus D.C. and Puerto Rico), half or more of survey respondents said COVID-19 had had "large negative effects" on them.
    • That included 60% of small businesses in Puerto Rico, 59% in Hawaii and New York, and 58% in Michigan.
    • Nearly half of small businesses in Puerto Rico, South Dakota, North Dakota, New Jersey, Alabama and Louisiana only have enough cash on hand to last a month or less.

Some industries may never be the same. More than three-quarters of companies in the food and accommodation categories said they'd suffered "large negative effects" from the virus and shutdowns.

  • So had more than 70% in arts and recreation or education.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 7, 2020 - Sports

The states that have legalized sports betting

Reproduced from American Gaming Association; Cartogram: Axios Visuals

2020 was poised to be a big year for sports betting. Some of that momentum was lost due to the shutdown, but the industry is still surging ahead — and holding out hope for a massive fall.

The state of play: Sports betting is now legal and fully operational in 18 states, plus Washington, D.C.

Updated 37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 19,499,341 — Total deaths: 723,881 — Total recoveries — 11,864,471Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30p.m. ET: 4,999,836 — Total deaths: 162,382 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid — Democrats slam Trump, urge GOP to return to negotiations
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid

President Trump speaking during a press conference on Aug. 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday signed four executive actions to provide relief from economic damage sustained during the coronavirus pandemic after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate federal spending, Trump has limited authority to act unilaterally — and risks a legal challenge if congressional Democrats believe he has overstepped.