Photo: Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images

A new study by economists at the University of Illinois, Harvard Business School, Harvard University and the University of Chicago projects that more than 100,000 small businesses have permanently closed since the coronavirus pandemic was declared in March, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The mass devastation to small businesses comes despite efforts by the federal government to keep them afloat as large swathes of the economy have been forced to close as a result of the pandemic.

  • Congress has approved over $700 billion in relief funds for small businesses, and approximately 4.2 million have received loans from the Small Business Administration, per the Post.
  • Many small business owners have considered the Paycheck Protection Program as well, but worry about not being able to meet the staffing levels required by the law.

Details: The study projects that at least 2% of American small businesses are gone for good.

  • The damage has been especially severe for certain sectors like the restaurant industry, which has seen 3% of restaurants permanently go out of business, according to the National Restaurant Association.
  • 34% of small businesses are paying reduced rent or postponing payment, according to the Post.

Go deeper

American Express to buy Kabbage

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

American Express on Monday announced an agreement to acquire online small-business lender Kabbage for an undisclosed amount.

Why it matters: Kabbage is one of the fintech companies that helped small businesses tap into the Paycheck Protection Program despite furloughing hundreds of workers at the beginning of the pandemic.

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Federal judge rules Trump administration can't end census early

Census workers outside Lincoln Center in New York. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled late Thursday that the Trump administration could not end the 2020 census a month early.

Why it matters: The decision states that an early end — on Sept. 30, instead of Oct. 31 — would likely produce inaccuracies and thus impact political representation and government funding around the country.

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