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Editorial: Numbers give scale to local impact of Paycheck Protection Program

The positive impact of the Paycheck Protection Program in the Rowan County area is undeniable, especially now that there are numbers available for individual loans.

The Small Business Administration on Monday released data from the program in two batches — more than $150,000 and less than $150,000. The bracket for higher dollar amounts included specific information about businesses that received help and smaller dollar amounts excluded names, addresses and other identifying information.

So here are some statistics using the Small Business Administration’s data:

• About 1,480 businesses with Rowan County and Kannapolis addresses received help.

• Businesses in Rowan and Kannapolis received at least $124.89 million from the program.

• Roughly 15,822 local jobs were supported by the Paycheck Protection Plan loans.

The numbers should be viewed as a floor rather than a ceiling for the scale of financial help businesses received. Some are affiliates of businesses based elsewhere that received funding. You’ll see that in Rowan County and Kannapolis, too, in cases where businesses here have operations elsewhere.

Funding estimates also aren’t exact science, as amounts greater than $150,000 are provided in brackets. The largest PPP loans in Rowan County, for example, went to Daymark Recovery Services and Global Contact Services, both of which are in the $5 million to $10 million bracket. Catawba and Livingstone colleges are both in the $2 million to $5 million range. The $124.89 million amount uses the lower number of each bracket.

The jobs are a similar story to the number of businesses and funding amounts, as more jobs could have been supported by parent companies based elsewhere that received funding.

In any case, the program was an important step in keeping businesses afloat during a time when North Carolina had its stay-at-home order in place. For many businesses, sales and demand for services plummeted. Others were forcefully shut down. The shutdown, an understandable step to protect public safety, has led to permanent closures, including some in our community. But the Paycheck Protection Program limited the number of businesses making difficult decisions to lay off employees or choosing which bills to pay.

If another shutdown is required because of a worsening COVID-19 outbreak, policymakers should consider offering similar or identical help to small businesses. The country is facing a two-pronged crisis — a recession and a global pandemic. The public knows the steps it needs to take to mitigate the spread of the virus and, in turn, the pandemic, but further help may be needed from lawmakers to prevent the recession from dipping to a lower point.

To view a map of local data from the Paycheck Protection Act’s loans, visit bit.ly/rowanppp.

The map shows loans to Rowan County and Kannapolis businesses from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Plan. Click on the markers for each loan to see more detailed data. A darker shade of green indicates a higher loan amount. On a smartphone, tap on the marker to select an address and then tap on the address at the bottom of your screen to see additional information about the loan recipient.

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