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Press Release

Which Industries Received PPP Loans?

Cleveland Fed researchers Mark Schweitzer and Garrett Borawski examine the financial challenges faced by small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and estimate the scale of loans provided to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Their findings include:

  • PPP loans appeared to reach about 78 percent of US small businesses
  • In most sectors, about 70 percent of small businesses received a PPP loan
  • PPP loans of $5.3 billion were provided to 334,978 businesses that were identified as likely having no employees
  • High numbers of loans in some sectors points to the fact that firms with more than 500 employees were able to qualify for PPP loans
  • Some sectors, notably accommodation and food services, and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas exploration, received a larger than typical amounts of PPP loans as a share of their payrolls
  • Other sectors, including management of companies and enterprises, and wholesale trade, received loan amounts that were a substantially smaller share of their payrolls

The researchers conclude that differences in loan coverage may be an access issue rather than the result of businesses choosing not to participate, because the terms of the loans were quite generous.

“We find that PPP loans were both large and widely sought by US businesses,” say Schweitzer and Borawski. “The support provided by PPP loans reached small businesses across most industry categories in large enough amounts to support employment levels for at least two and half months.”

Read the Economic Commentary.

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.218.1892