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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Paycheck Protection Program's Funds Exhausted

The Paycheck Protection Program that’s given aid to businesses during the pandemic has run out of funding, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA will continue to fund already approved PPP applications.

The PPP provided Montana small businesses with nearly 42,000 loans totaling $2.5 billion since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The loans helped cover workers' paychecks during the COVID-19 related economic downturn and mandated shutdowns.

"I think in light of this announcement of the PPP funding being exhausted or nearly exhausted, that if you are still seeking a PPP loan it would behoove you to apply for one of those right away through one of these Community Financial Institutions," says Brent Donnelly, Montana district director for the SBA.

The announcement from the SBA comes after Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte announced the state will end additional unemployment benefits, implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic. By July, the Governor’s office will start a program giving one time payments of $1,200 to people who were receiving unemployment benefits but found a job.

"Our recovery has actually been quite good at this point. Our unemployment rate is relatively low, we are at 3.8%," says Montana State University labor economist Carly Urban.

But Urban says people who are both small business owners and self employed could experience a double-whammy of lost government financial support by ending PPP and boosted unemployment payments at the same time.

Copyright 2021 Yellowstone Public Radio

Jess Sheldahl is a reporter for Yellowstone Public Radio and the host of Morning Edition as well as YPR's daily news podcast, The Worm.
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