Editor's note: Richland Source's parent company, Richland Times, LLC, participated in the Paycheck Protection Program.

After pressure from consumer advocates and governmental watchdog groups, the Small Business Administration and United States Department of Treasury released information on Paycheck Protection Program grantees of all sizes.

The complete data set is available for download at the Treasury Department website and includes breakdowns by state for loans under $150,000 and a nationwide file for loans over $150,000.

The program totaled more than $500 billion in loans to companies and non-profits to help them weather the economic storm generated by COVID-19 shutdowns. It got off to a rocky start when first announced due to a flurry of changing requirements, but quickly became a lifeline for organizations across the country. The government's data shows that over 600,000 nationwide employers received loans in excess of $150,000. 

The financial lifeline extended to north central Ohio.

Some spreadsheet wrangling in the Richland Source newsroom produced a breakout by region. It reveals that more than 500 area employers took advantage of the short-term loan program at the $150,000+ level. Applicant-supplied information asserts that the PPP allowed for the retention of nearly 28,000 jobs across Knox, Richland, Ashland, and Crawford counties and their neighboring communities.

Mansfield companies retained 7,013 jobs due to PPP. Ashland and Mount Vernon employers followed up those numbers with 4,874 and 2,726 respectively.

Understanding the exact amount disbursed is not possible because the government did not disclose the the exact amount loaned to individual employers. However, based upon the ranges provided, it's reasonable to surmise the regional total to be between $200 to 400 million.

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