What did – and didn’t – the Paycheck Protection Program do for small businesses?

A recent working paper took a deep dive into where PPP funds ended up. Marketplace’s senior economics contributor Chris Farrell argues the results highlight a much bigger challenge for policymakers.
President Joe Biden (L) visits W.S. Jenks & Son, a hardware store that has benefited from a Paycheck Protection Program loan, in Washington, DC, on March 9, 2021.
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What counts as a small business, anyway?

Feb 5, 2021
The federal government uses a 500-employee cutoff to define small businesses. Turns out that definition’s pretty contentious.
When most Americans think of "small business," they think of places like Eso Won Books in Los Angeles, with 20 employees or fewer.
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Lenders start processing the second round of PPP loans

Jan 25, 2021
Bankers say the process is running a lot more smoothly this time, in part because they have a better sense of what to expect.
Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

New PPP changes aim to serve businesses owned by marginalized communities

Jan 12, 2021
A Black-owned bank CEO in South Carolina says the new PPP applicants he's seen are businesses owned by women and people of color.
Applications have to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least.
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Next round of PPP loans starts Monday

Loan money can be used to cover more expenses this time around — not just payroll, but also to buy supplies.
Larger companies initially took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program, which was intended to offer forgivable loans to smaller businesses.
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New Paycheck Protection Program will have more restrictions than the first

Jan 6, 2021
This new round of PPP will only be available to companies with fewer than 300 employees.
A boy gets his hair cut at a barbershop in Austin, Texas, on May 8.
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Small business owners eye a second Paycheck Protection Program loan

Dec 23, 2020
Some previous applicants say they're weighing past experiences, as they decide whether to apply again.
A restaurant employee moves between tables outside of a restaurant in Manhattan on Dec. 11 in New York City.
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How one small business pivoted when it couldn't get a PPP loan

Dec 22, 2020
A South Carolina media producer is among the companies rethinking their business models to address needs created by the pandemic.
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What small business owners might expect from Biden

Dec 7, 2020
Biden has pledged to provide additional resources for small businesses. Business owners say the type of aid matters.
Biden has called for flexible grants to businesses that have lost substantial revenue. He also wants to refocus the Paycheck Protection Program on businesses with fewer than 50 employees, instead of the current 500.
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