PPP loans roughly match the industry’s payroll, but some stand out

(Reuters) – Paycheck Protection Program loans to restaurants and hotels have failed to reach their share of small business employment, according to program details released Monday by the U.S. Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration.

The food and accommodation sector has been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and one of the motivations for the rapid approval of the roughly $ 650 billion forgivable loan program was the fear that grassroots businesses like the local pizzeria might be forced to shut down without help. .

Data released on Monday included an updated breakdown by industry and showed that as of June 30, restaurant and accommodation companies had received just over 8% of the $ 521 billion in PPP loans made so far, or about $ 42 billion.

According to 2017 U.S. Business Statistics, the most recent available from the U.S. Census, businesses in this industry accounted for just over 14% of jobs among businesses with 500 or fewer workers – the general threshold for PPP loans.

The industry does better when it uses the payroll as a criterion. Restaurant and accommodation businesses, which tend to be at the bottom of the pay scale, accounted for less than 6% of small business payrolls, according to census data.

Retail companies, another industry hard hit by social distancing and other measures imposed to control the spread of the virus, have followed a similar pattern – receiving 7.7% or PPP loans compared to providing more than 9% of small business jobs and less than 7% of small business payrolls.

The construction and manufacturing industries both received slightly more loans than they accounted for for jobs or small business payrolls.

The data will likely fuel the ongoing debate in Congress about further help for families and businesses to mitigate the economic fallout from the pandemic. An estimated 14.6 million jobs have been lost in more than two months of pandemic-related job declines in March and April, and a rebound in May and June.

Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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