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Reproduced from Deutsche Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

A report from the Census Bureau finds that three out of four U.S. small businesses have sought financial assistance through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, but data show that just a fraction of those have received funding.

The state of play: While the first iteration of the PPP exhausted its $349 billion of capital in two weeks, the second round of the program still has nearly 40% of its funding left, almost three weeks after being launched.

What it means: There are more than 30 million small businesses in the country but just under 6 million have gotten the loans. That means it's likely many in need of funding haven't been able to get it or have chosen not to pursue it.

Why it matters: The PPP was designed to keep employers tied to their workers ensuring that more Americans could easily get their jobs back once the coronavirus outbreak was tamed and the economy could restart.

What happened: "Backlash against publicly traded firms that dipped into the funds, and heightened federal scrutiny have likely chased away some firms," TD Securities macro strategist Oscar Muñoz writes in a note to clients.

  • "Limits imposed on the use of the funds to cover operational expenses other than payrolls have also diminished interest."
  • "Note that loans are fully forgiven if at least 75% is used to cover payroll costs."

Between the lines: Small business owners and various trade organizations also complained that the PPP's 60-day time constraint, delayed rollout, and the way it countered newly increased unemployment benefits meant many business owners simply didn't want it and others were unable to apply.

The last word: The real success or failure of PPP won't be known until we reach the eight-week mark from when the loans were given out, Torsten Slok, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, tells Axios.

  • "For the program to be a success ultimately you need to see one thing and only one thing: You need to see job growth go up in the millions in May and in June because that’s when we get closer to the deadline for companies to hire back their workers."

Go deeper: Volume of loan applications doubles in second round of PPP

Go deeper

Unemployment claims tick higher

Photo: Bridget Bennett/AFP via Getty Images

New applications for unemployment bumped higher last week, after jobless claims filings steadily dropped in recent weeks, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Why it matters: Economists are hesitant to draw too many conclusions about the broader economy from this week's higher filings alone, but they're watching for worsening effects on the labor market as Congress' stimulus negotiations stall.

Updated 44 mins ago - Technology

Mayors see cryptocurrency as a way to address income inequality

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.

Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February
  2. Vaccines: Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker