small businesses

Digging Into the Paycheck Protection Program

The feds have shared the names of larger recipients of the coronavirus small business aid.

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The federal government has released data on the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, which was put in place to help smaller businesses dealing with the fallout from coronavirus. The information included a list of companies that received some of the $670 million made available.

NBC Connecticut Investigates has been going through the numbers.

The data included items on how many jobs each company that got the money claims it is retaining by having the PPP.

The data totaled out to roughly 600,000 jobs in Connecticut that were retained by PPP, a figure that jumps out to Brian Marks, University of New Haven senior lecturer in the department of economics and business analytics.  The "jobs retained" is a number self-reported by the employers receiving the PPP money.

“If we eliminate, or add to the rolls the number of people being supported by this, our numbers are not only daunting now, but frankly quite frightening, if we didn’t have the PPP program”, Marks said.

PPP amounts received data got broken up in ranges by dollar amount; $5-10 million, $2 million-$5 million, with a huge chunk at $150,000 and lower.  The loans of $150,000 or lower make up more than 86% of the PPP loans.

Some of the businesses getting the highest amounts included large law firms, church-related organizations, and higher education. Marks cautioned against jumping to conclusions.

“Many people were quick to point out that various academic institutions had significant endowments, and why are they calling on these loans when they have an endowment, well the endowments contain with it conditions in which funds get to be released.  It’s not just at the sole discretion of the university chancellor or president.”

The data, from the U.S. Small Business Administration, which has been overseeing the PPP program along with the U.S. Treasury, said business sectors receiving 10% or more of the total amount of PPP funding include:  

  • Health Care and Social Assistance 12.92%
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services  12.74%
  • Construction 12.38%
  • Manufacturing  10.36%

The PPP data also said the Connecticut zip code receiving the most loans was in Stamford. A total of 216 businesses inside Stamford's 06902 zip code received PPP loans. The total amount of the PPP loans given to companies in Stamford was in the range of $77 million to $187,600,000, according to the SBA.  The money helped those companies retain a total of 7,759 jobs, according to the self-reported figures given to the SBA.

Just last week Congress and the president extended PPP to August 8.  There’s still more than $100-billion left to loan out.  

NBC Connecticut Investigates reached out to members of the Connecticut Congressional delegation about the data.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal wrote:

"This data— long-overdue— raises increasingly serious questions about possible misallocation of PPP funds. I’ll be closely scrutinizing the list and seeking investigation of any misguided decisions, favoritism or wrongdoing. Small businesses in desperate need of funding had less access than larger companies. I’ll be asking for more information from U.S. Treasury officials to answer tough questions and assure all Connecticut businesses, especially smaller ones, are treated fairly. We must learn from the mistakes."

U.S. Representative Joe Courtney, whose district represents a large portion of eastern Connecticut, also released a statement to NBC Connecticut:

“Nearly 75,000 jobs in eastern Connecticut have been supported through the COVID-19 economic crisis thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program, which Congress authorized when we voted to pass the bipartisan CARES Act. PPP funding has been directed to over 8,200 businesses throughout CT-02, but we know that this economic crisis isn’t over yet—small businesses and employees are going to need more assistance to remain intact. My office has worked with local businesses and community banks over the last three months, and there is no excuse to keep them waiting for help when everyone from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to the President all agree that families, small businesses, towns and cities, and many others are going to need more assistance. We have got to keep pressing forward to help eastern Connecticut workers and small businesses through this economic crisis.”

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