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Expand chart
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

National League of Cities: Airline cuts to small-town routes is a "devastation"

Axios' Ina Fried (l) and National League of Cities CEO Clarence Anthony. Photo: Axios

Airlines service cuts to small cities could dramatically affect connectivity for Americans, National League of Cities CEO and Executive Director Clarence Anthony said during an Axios virtual event on Friday. "It is a devastation,' he said.

What's happening: American Airlines last week announced plans to suspend service to 15 small cities once federal coronavirus aid for airlines runs out in October, per CNBC. American was the only airline servicing nine of the affected airports.

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.