Oil and manufacturing fare best with pandemic loans

In this April 30 photo, storage tanks at a refinery along the Houston Ship Channel are seen with downtown Houston in the background.

AP Photo / David J. Phillip

Almost 75% of small businesses sought help from a federal loan program designed to keep workers employed during the coronavirus pandemic, but only 38% of small businesses received the money, according to the results of a US Census Bureau survey released Thursday.

According to the Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey, oil and mining companies have been most successful in securing loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, with more than half of companies surveyed in this industry reporting receiving loans. ugly.

Just under half of small businesses in manufacturing and about 45% of small accommodation and food services businesses reported receiving loans, according to the survey.

Utilities were the worst of any industry, according to the survey, with less than a quarter of small businesses in that industry getting loans.

The Paycheck Protection Program administered by the Small Business Administration has distributed more than $ 530 billion in low-cost loans to millions of small businesses to protect them from the sharp decline induced by the coronavirus.

The Census Bureau survey showed that nearly two-thirds of small businesses in Arkansas, Maine and Oklahoma had received loans, some of the highest in the country. Behind the rest of the country was California, where just over a fifth of small businesses received emergency loans.

Asked about the disparities in an email, SBA press director Carol Wilkerson said the agency had no comment.

The Census Bureau launched the Small Business Pulse Survey last month to capture the impact of the pandemic on small businesses in near real time. Thursday’s release was the first of what will be weekly updates. The initial survey was sent to 100,915 small businesses, and 22,449 small businesses responded from April 26 to May 2.

Almost three-quarters of the small businesses surveyed said they had experienced a drop in their revenues, and more than a quarter said they had reduced the size of their workforce. More than 11% of small businesses said they missed a loan payment, but that figure rose to 30% for small accommodation and restaurant businesses, according to the survey.

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