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04.01.21

Which Industries Received PPP Loans?

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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.

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