Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There's more evidence that the government’s flagship small business loan program was distributed unequally across racial lines.

Why it matters: Minority-owned companies are faring much worse — and the fate of their businesses is much more bleak — than white-owned ones, as the pandemic slams Main Street.

What's happening: Congressional districts with the highest Black populations cinched $13 billion less in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds than districts with smaller Black populations, according to a new study by Accountable.US, an advocacy group, first reported by Reuters.

  • By the numbers: The 10 congressional districts with the lowest Black population received over 64,000 more PPP loans than the 10 districts that have the highest Black population.

A separate analysis of Small Business Administration data released by Bloomberg yesterday shows that the first tranche of PPP funds went overwhelmingly to the whitest parts of the country in its first two weeks, "leaving firms in mostly Hispanic and Black areas to wait until a second tranche of funds was made available."

  • Roughly 27% of small businesses in majority white neighborhoods got PPP loans within that timeframe, but only 17% of small businesses in predominantly minority districts got the funds.
  • Bloomberg found that the second round of PPP funds had more comparable lending in districts.

Between the lines: Time was of the essence for cash-strapped small businesses that in some cases saw revenues come to a standstill when the pandemic hit. A lag in receiving support "could have contributed to layoffs or closures of businesses in minority neighborhoods," Bloomberg points out.

  • Of note: The government set aside $10 billion in the second round of PPP funds to be lent by Community Development Financial Institutions, which specialize in lending in rural, minority and other underserved communities.

The bottom line: The trove of PPP loan data released earlier this summer doesn't give a clear picture of how many Black-owned businesses received loans. The "race/ethnicity" column for businesses was more often than not blank. (And there were errors in the database, anyway.)

  • But other data continue to show piles of evidence that inequality in the PPP loan process disadvantaged Black-owned businesses.

Go deeper

Why the employee retention credit is an overlooked stimulus issue

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

D.C. remains deadlocked on the next stimulus package, days after extended unemployment benefits ended and days before PPP is set to expire.

Where it stands: One unresolved issue that hasn't gotten enough attention is a proposed expansion of the employee retention credit, which could have a significant impact for companies that have experienced severe revenue declines.

A quandary for state unemployment agencies

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State agencies charged with paying unemployment benefits to jobless residents have their backs against the wall as they rush to parse President Trump's executive actions on coronavirus aid.

Why it matters: States are being asked to pitch in $100 per unemployed resident, but it’s a heavy lift for cash-strapped states that are still unclear about the details and may not opt-in at all. It leaves the states and jobless residents in a state of limbo.

Updated 49 mins ago - Health

New Zealand reports first local coronavirus cases for 102 days

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after a press conference at Parliament on July 22 in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Auckland is locking down and the rest of New Zealand faces lesser restrictions for 72 hours after a family of four tested positive for COVID-19, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's the first cases not in managed isolation for 102 days, Ardern said at a news briefing.