Jul 14, 2020 - Economy

PPP was not enough for small businesses

An illustration of a falling brief case

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has left much to be desired for needy small businesses around the U.S., and the overwhelming majority of recipients are about to exhaust their funding and may start laying off employees.

Why it matters: The PPP has been derided by some economists and researchers as inefficient and ineffective, but a new Goldman Sachs survey shows that even for the businesses and employees it helped, it has not been enough.

What's happening: The Goldman survey, provided first to Axios, finds 84% of PPP loan recipients will exhaust their funding by the first week of August and only 16% say they're very confident they will be able to maintain payroll if no further government relief is provided.

  • A recent survey by the right-leaning National Federation of Independent Business found 22% of PPP recipients anticipate having to lay off at least one employee after using their loan.

The big picture: The $669 billion program was meant to be a bridge between government-imposed economic shutdowns and a reopened U.S. economy that would recoup its earlier strength.

  • Goldman's survey found 77% of loan recipients were able to maintain 75%–100% of payroll.
  • But extended lockdown periods, continued fear of the virus, and the recent uptick in new infections and deaths have meant small business owners are facing more significant troubles now than when the program was launched.

By the numbers: 63% of small business owners say less than 75% of their revenue before the pandemic started has returned.

  • 60% say that less than 75% of their customers from before the pandemic started have returned.

Between the lines: The picture is even worse for Black-owned businesses, Goldman notes.

  • 34% say less than 25% of their pre-coronavirus revenue has returned (compared to 20% of survey respondents overall).
  • 7% percent are very confident they will be able to maintain payroll if no further government relief is provided (Overall: 16%).
  • 28% believe they can survive another wave of the pandemic should similar shutdown protocols become necessary (Overall: 37%).

Of note: PPP applications were extended until Aug. 8 in an 11th-hour deal before the deadline expired June 30. However, there is still around $150 billion left unclaimed as few new borrowers have been approved for loans and more money has been returned.

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