FILE - Oregon state capitol building

The Oregon State Capitol building, in Salem, Ore.

(The Center Square) – Thousands of Oregon’s small businesses received federal loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, but a new study has shed light on which industries have seen the most assistance.

The nationwide program was created as part of the CARES Act in March to provide financial aid to small businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

Information on companies receiving loans of under and over $150,000 is now public based on Small Business Association data released by the Treasury Department on Monday.

The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis (OOEA) broke down the data by county in a study, accounting for two key factors: the percentage of wages covered by PPP loans; and the percentage of local businesses that received PPP loans.

PPP loans by county

According to OOEA’s findings, PPP loans accounted for a high percentage of wages from small businesses in Oregon’s rural regions.

In Grant, Harney, and Lake counties, PPP loans covered more than 20 percent of wages compared to the statewide average of around 7.5 percent.

Nearly 60 percent of small businesses in Hood River took out PPP loans—the highest in the state.

Under 30 percent of small businesses in Sherman took out PPP loans—the lowest in the state. The county is known for ranching and farming.

Washington County saw virtually no wages covered by PPP loans. The county headquarters several large corporations such as Nike and Intel which employ much of the local workforce and are ineligible for PPP loans.

Despite unemployment numbers hovering around 20 percent in May, counties along Oregon’s northern coast including Clatsop, Lincoln, Tillamook paid out wages with PPP loans at near the statewide average.

PPP loans by industry

Professional, transportation, and retail services saw a relatively low share of wages covered by PPP loans—about 5 to 10 percent. Transportation in particular saw nearly 60 percent of its businesses receive PPP loans.

The arts, entertainment, and recreation industries saw 15 percent of its wages covered by PPP loans with nearly 80 percent of its businesses receiving loans.

Oregon’s natural resource industry, including timber, covered as much as 13 percent of its wages with PPP loans and well over 50 percent of businesses receiving loans.

The state’s information industry covered just under 4 percent of its wages with PPP loans and saw around 20 percent of its businesses getting loans.

Companies that received PPP said the loans would support more than 600,000 jobs in Oregon, the OOEA reports, or approximately one in three private sector jobs in Oregon.

The state's unemployment rate currently stands at 14.2 percent since it was last reported in June.

The window to apply for a PPP loan was extended by 5 weeks on Saturday. It ends August 8.

Staff Reporter

Tim Gruver is a politics and public policy reporter. He is a University of Washington alum and the recipient of the 2017 Pioneer News Award for Reporting. His work has appeared in Politico, the Kitsap Daily News, and the Northwest Asian Weekly.