Federal Loans Top $8 Billion for Entertainment, Arts, Information and Recreation Sectors

But the Paycheck Protection Program is almost exhausted.

Arts, entertainment, recreation and information businesses have received approvals for over $8 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans, the Small Business Administration reported Tuesday, representing almost 40,000 individual loans.

The PPP program, enacted as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act on March 27, provides small businesses and independent contractors with forgivable loans — in essence, grants — equal to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs. Of the 1,035,086 loans approved across all industry sectors as of Monday, the average size loan has been $239,152, with 70 percent of loans under $150,000, according to the report. Over 4,600 lenders are involved.

Those figures translate into over $247 billion in loan commitments. With the first-come, first-served program funded at $349 billion, commentators are expecting the spigot to run dry as early as Wednesday night, The New York Times reported. A move to add billions more to the program has bipartisan support but is stalled in Congress over disagreements about how to earmark the additional funds, the paper said.

Tuesday’s SBA report is broken out into 20 top-level sectors, corresponding to the North American Industry Classification System developed and used by government agencies. The construction sector led the pack, with almost $34 billion in approved loans. The motion picture and television business is primarily split between two sectors, arts, entertainment and recreation (NAICS code 71) and information (code 51), with some businesses such as casting agencies, payroll houses, wardrobe rental and others classified elsewhere.

In the first sector, which includes writers, actors, agents, performing arts and many non-entertainment businesses such as fitness centers, the SBA reported 25,785 approved loans amounting to almost $3.7 billion. Meanwhile, for the information sector, which encompasses movies, television, cable and music, as well as books, magazines, software, telecom and more, the SBA reported 13,693 approvals totaling over $4.4 billion.

How much of those dollars have actually been disbursed was not disclosed in the report, and the SBA did not respond to a request for data broken down by subcategories specific to the entertainment industry.

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