December 2020

Across the Universe: Policy Support for Employment and Revenue in the Pandemic Recession

Ryan A. Decker, Robert J. Kurtzman, Byron F. Lutz, and Christopher J. Nekarda


Using data from 14 government sources, we develop comprehensive estimates of U.S. economic activity by sector, legal form of organization, and firm size to characterize how four government direct lending programs—the Paycheck Protection Program, the Main Street Lending Program, the Corporate Credit Facilities, and the Municipal Lending Facilities—relate to these classes of economic activity in the United States. The classes targeted by these programs are vast—accounting for 97 percent of total U.S. employment—though entity-specific financial criteria limit coverage within specific programs. These programs notionally cover a far larger universe than what was targeted by analogous Great Recession-era lending policies. We relate our estimates to those from timely alternative data sources, which do not typically cover the majority of the economic universe.
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Last Update: December 04, 2020