The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), at least at its rollout, seemed to leave lenders and borrowers both with their share of anecdotes about overwhelming demand. A Census Bureau survey released Thursday put some numbers to it.
About 75% of 22,000 small businesses the agency polled between April 26 and May 2 said they sought federal aid through the PPP, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters reported. However, only about half of those — 38% — said they had received the loan money.
The survey coincided with the week the second round of PPP funds became available — arguably when demand was highest as banks processed a backlog of loan applications submitted during the first round and in the two weeks after the money ran dry.
It should be noted, too, that response rate to the survey was roughly 22% — the Census Bureau reportedly cast its net to about 100,000 small businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The survey is meant to measure the coronavirus’s impact over time; officials said results would be published weekly through July 2.
The pandemic's impact appeared to be felt most intensely in the Northeast and Great Lakes, with 65% of respondents in Washington, D.C., 59% of respondents in Michigan and 55% of respondents in New York and Pennsylvania reporting that they had closed a location for a day or more. By contrast, businesses in Plains states such as Nebraska (20%) and South Dakota (23%) felt the slightest impact, according to the survey.
The impact, predictably, differed by business type with 84.5% of hotels and restaurants saying they had sought a PPP loan. Meanwhile, the financial services and utilities sectors reported an application rate of less than 50%.
About 31% of respondents said they expected it would take more than six months for their business to return to normal. About 28% said it would take four to six months. And 24% said two to three months seemed enough.
More than 35% of respondents said they missed a payment such as a loan since the crisis began. More than 30% reported having two weeks’ worth — or less — of cash on hand to fund their businesses, according to the survey.