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A higher percentage of businesses requested Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans in New Jersey than all but four other states, but the state is well below the national average in the percentage of businesses that have actually received assistance.

According to a survey by the United States Census Bureau, 78.5% of New Jersey businesses requested PPP loans but only 26.6% have received funding. Nationally, an average of 74.9% of businesses requested PPP assistance and 38.1% have received funds. The data was collected through May 2.

New Jersey’s percentage of requests for assistance was higher than every state except Maine, Oklahoma, Georgia and Arkansas. The percentage of businesses receiving assistance was lower than every state except California and Nevada.

According to an article in The Hill, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved more than 4.23 million PPP loans for a total of roughly $542 billion between two rounds of congressional funding, and has roughly $118 billion as yet unspent.

PPP was by far the most popular coronavirus relief program among small businesses nationwide. By comparison, only 29.3% of businesses requested Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).

PPP was created by Congress specifically to avoid some layoffs as large sectors of the economy were all but shut down to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The loan amounts were calculated based on a business’ payroll costs, and the loans are forgivable if at least 75% of the funding is used for payroll.