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July 10, 2020

Federal data: PPP retained 148,000 Central Mass. jobs

Photo | Grant Welker Assumption University, which changed its name in June from Assumption College, was among 15 Central Massachusetts firms receiving Paycheck Protection Program loans that said the aid helped them retain at least 400 jobs.

The federal $669-billion Paycheck Protection Program helped Central Massachusetts companies retain what they estimate is roughly 148,000 jobs, according to a Worcester Business Journal review of U.S. Small Business Administration data.

Recipients of roughly 18,000 loans made to Central Massachusetts companies were required to report how many jobs they expected aid to save. Even as the region's unemployment rate soared to 14.7% in May, the reports indicate the aid program likely kept the unemployment ranks from growing far larger.

In Worcester, an estimated nearly 24,000 workers were saved from being laid off, with some disclosing only a single saved employee, or not specifying at all. The loans can be made forgivable if they're used to keep employees on the job, but can also be used for other expenses.

More than 10,000 jobs were said to be retained in Framingham, more than 7,000 in Marlborough, roughly 6,700 in Natick, and nearly 6,000 in Franklin.

Statewide, data from the SBA shows 1,087,848 jobs were retained through federal aid. Almost the exact same number of unemployment claims in Massachusetts — 1,093,079 — have been made since mid-March, with the state's unemployment rate rising in May to 16.3%, tied for the fourth-worst rate nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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