There’s been progress on a federal pandemic aid program to help small business access to capital, over a year after it was initially authorized, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Sunday.

This comes as firms are now battling high inflation and the greater risks of a recession.

The Treasury Department has been sending out around $200 million to five states through the State Small Business Credit Initiative, which is intended to get money to states, territories and tribal governments for programs to give capital or encourage private lending.

That program was approved as part of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 package passed in March 2021.

But since that time, the economy has seen major shifts, with unemployment falling and the economy growing beyond what it was before the pandemic. The economy has been slowing down recently, though, and small business sentiment has soured because of inflation and supply chain problems.

While Republicans have been skeptical of more pandemic aid, the Biden administration says the funding is still important in the current environment to help businesses thrive and make more entrepreneurship opportunities in disadvantaged communities.

See also: Economic Uncertainty Boosts Demand for Automation

PYMNTS has written that consumers’ reticence to spend has spurred demand for automation.

That comes as the CFO’s job has become harder. Jaya Jaware, CFO with CommerceIQ, said that people “are looking for higher revenue, lower cost. What are the growth factors? What is the [return on investment (ROI)] on every investment?”

The report notes that automation is part of CommerceIQ’s strength, and it has been seeing more demand for that kind of a service.

Jaware said this is because people are “focused on profitability,” and that it’s a positive change for the company.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: THE TAILORED SHOPPING EXPERIENCE STUDY – MAY 2022

About: PYMNTS’ survey of 2,094 consumers for The Tailored Shopping Experience report, a collaboration with Elastic Path, shows where merchants are getting it right and where they need to up their game to deliver a customized shopping experience.

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