Business Report: Small business pessimism, PPP loan forgiveness, unemployment benefits delayed

Many businesses that received federal PPP loans won’t have to repay any of the money

Small business optimism is at its lowest point since 1973, according to a new national survey by NFIB, the small business association. Eileen Kean, the organization’s New Jersey director, points to pandemic-related restrictions on small businesses as one issue weighing on the community. She says lawmakers need to do more to rescue small businesses.

Many businesses that received PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans from the federal government won’t have to repay any of the money. The Small Business Administration says it has forgiven 1.1 million loans for a total of $100 billion. In New Jersey, more than 150,000 small businesses and nonprofits received forgivable loans, including the Sky Blue Women’s Soccer team, which is owned by Gov. Phil Murphy.

Unemployed New Jersey residents were supposed to receive an extra $300 a week in federal jobless benefits early this week, but some of those payments are delayed. Murphy said Wednesday the delays are due to challenges in processing the federal payments but that the problem is being fixed. The state labor department is saying it still hopes to get the payments out this week and notes that state unemployment benefits should not be affected.

Jersey City residents who are unable to pay their rent or utilities are getting some help. Mayor Steve Fulop is making $2.5 million available to provide residents who qualify with up to three months of relief.