Nearly 16,000 small businesses in Washington have taken advantage of more than $12 billion in emergency federal loans aimed at preserving jobs during the pandemic, according to new government data.
As of June 30, 15,849 small businesses in Washington had borrowed $12.3 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program enacted by Congress in March, according to a report Monday from the U.S. Small Business Administration, which oversees the program.
Loan recipients in Washington state ranged from well-known eateries Ivar’s and Dick’s Drive-In to The Seattle Times.
The PPP loans, for amounts up to $10 million, won’t require repayment if borrowers used most of the funds to cover payroll during an eight-week period. The SBA typically defines a small business as 500 or fewer employees, but makes exceptions for a number of industries, including newspapers, which can have up to 1,000 employees.
The PPP program has been controversial. Many small employers in Washington and elsewhere struggled to apply for the loans. Some recipients worried that the time limit for spending the money would expire before businesses were allowed to reopen. Reports Monday indicated that a small number of companies listed by the SBA as PPP loan recipients denied having either received a loan or applying for one.
Across Washington, employers that received loans used the money to save, or “retain,” more than 555,000 jobs, according to data provided by employers to the SBA, although not all employers reported the number of jobs retained. The SBA did not respond to a request Monday for clarification about how long jobs had to be retained in order to be counted as such by the SBA.
Nationally, PPP loan recipients were most heavily concentrated among companies in health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, manufacturing, accommodation and food services, and retail, and those trends were largely mirrored in Washington.
Seattle had by far the state’s largest share of overall loans, with 3,021 companies using loans to retain 115,905 jobs, according to SBA data.