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Program saves nearly 17,900 jobs in county

July 6, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

The federal government on Monday identified roughly 650,000 of the mostly small businesses and nonprofits that received taxpayer money through a program designed to lessen job losses from the coronavirus. On the other hand, some critics contend the program benefited wealthy, well-connected companies and firms.

The Treasury Department listed just a fraction of the total borrowers for the federal Payroll Protection Program, naming only companies that got more than $150,000.

Those firms made up less than 15 percent of the nearly 5 million small companies and organizations that received a share of the government-backed $659 billion in low-interest business loans that will be forgiven if employers use the money on payroll, rent and similar expenses. Statewide, about one-sixth of the more than 165,000 entities from Pennsylvania that borrowed money received $150,000 or more.

Closer to home, 429 businesses in Butler County received loans ranging from $150,000 to $5 million for a total of between $136.65 million and $324 million in federal aid that helped save nearly 17,900 local jobs. This number does not include loans of less than $150,000.

Companies typically must have fewer than 500 workers to qualify. The average loan amount was about $107,000, according to the Treasury Department.

Read more in Tuesday's Butler Eagle.