How the forest products industry used Paycheck Protection Program loans (2022 update)

February 12, 2022
analytics forest products PPP loans logging


The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) offered loans to businesses to provide a direct incentive for them to keep their workers on payroll. Forest products companies across the US received $4.7 billion in PPP loans offered through the Small Business Administration. Over 35,000 loans were offered to forest products companies in the US from April 2020 through May 2021, affecting 487,000 workers in the forest industry.

The Paycheck Protection Program

The US Small Business Administration (SBA) managed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) between April 2020 and May 2021. This loan program was created in response to business challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program provided loans to businesses to keep their workers on payroll, with many borrowers eligible for loan forgiveness. As of January 23, 2022, 87% of the total value in PPP loans distributed in 2020 and 2021 have been forgiven ($689 out of $790 billion).

In total, nearly 800 billion dollars were allocated to US companies as a part of the PPP. Funds for the loan program ran out in May 2021.

Approximately four percent of PPP loans were delivered to companies in the forestry and agricultural sector. This article summarizes information on PPP loans provided to businesses in the forest products industry.

PPP data

Data were acquired from the US SBA website (last updated 2 Jan 2022). To identify forest products companies, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes were obtained as a subset of the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting and Manufacturing industry titles. These represented 28 different industries including:

  • Forest nurseries and gathering of forest products,
  • Logging,
  • Converted paper product manufacturing,
  • Pulp, paper, and paperboard mills,
  • Veneer, plywood, and engineered wood product manufacturing,
  • Other wood product manufacturing, and
  • Support activities for forestry

PPP loans to the forest products industry

Forest products companies received 35,474 loans for a total of $4.7 billion through the PPP program from April 2020 to May 2021. The SBA provided PPP loans through three rounds between April 3, 2020 and April 16, 2020 (Round One), April 27 and August 8, 2020 (Round 2), and December 27, 2020 and May 5, 2021 (Round 3).

Fig. 1. Daily distribution of PPP loans to forest products companies in three rounds of funding."

The majority of PPP loans (46%) were provided in the third round of funding. Elsewhere, 26% and 29% of loans were provided in the first and second rounds of funding, respectively. There were 8,245 second draw loans from forest products companies that received a previous loan, or 30% of all loans.

Logging and other wood product manufacturing companies received 68% of all PPP loans (n = 24,235) provided to forest products companies:

Fig. 2. Number of forest products companies that received PPP loans by NAICS industry classification.

Converted paper product manufacturers and pulp, paper, and paperboard mills received the largest loan amounts, exceeding $300,000 on average. These industries, along with veneer, plywood, and engineered wood product manufacturers, reported the greatest number of jobs supported through the PPP loan program.

Table 1: Average PPP loan amounts for forest products companies by NAICS industry classification.
IndustryNum loansAvg num jobsAvg loan amount (USD)
Converted Paper Product Manufacturing2,71534.8$383,919
Pulp, Paper, and Paperboard Mills54526.3$316,931
Veneer, Plywood, and Engineered Wood Product Manufacturing1,34728.4$265,448
Sawmills and Wood Preservation2,47719.1$177,070
Other Wood Product Manufacturing11,83416.2$148,092
Support Activities for Forestry3,4288.8$73,507
Forest Nurseries and Gathering of Forest Products7278.5$68,349

The number of forest industry jobs reported in PPP loan applications was positively related to PPP loan amounts (p < 0.001, \(R^2\) = 0.800). Most applications reported that the PPP loan would support fewer than 20 jobs with loans amounts lower than $200,000.

Fig. 3. Number of forest industry jobs reported in PPP loans, with darker areas indicating greater number of loans.

The majority of PPP loans (61%) were provided to forest product companies at an amount less than $50,000. Loans greater than $350,000 represented 61% of the total approved value of loans to all forest products companies.

Table 2: Number and value of PPP loans provided to forest products companies.
Loan size (USD)Num loansTotal approved value (USD, millions)Percent of approved loansPercent of approved value
< 50K21,622386.361.08.2
50K - 100K4,879351.113.87.5
100K - 150K2,332288.46.66.1
150K - 350K3,598822.710.117.5
350K - 1M2,1391,
1M - 2M587815.91.717.4
2M - 5M156481.10.410.2
> 5M161337.20.57.2

PPP loans provided to logging companies supported the greatest number of jobs (65,438) across all forest industries. Loan amounts to specific logging companies supported the smallest number of jobs on average, however, over 12,000 loans were provided to this industry.

PPP loans provided to companies in the softwood veneer and plywood manufacturing and folding paperboard box manufacturing industries each saw the greatest loan amounts on average, in excess of $600,000. Companies in these industries supported fewer total numbers of jobs across the industry, but a greater number of jobs supported within each company.

Table 3: Mean value and number of jobs supported by PPP loans provided to forest products companies by NAICS industry categories.
IndustryNum loansAvg loan value (USD)Total loan value (USD, millions)Avg num jobsTotal num jobs
All Other Miscellaneous Wood Product Manufacturing4,496113,353509.612.254,918
Wood Container and Pallet Manufacturing2,276167,078380.321.749,436
Support Activities for Forestry3,42873,507252.08.830,035
Other Millwork (including Flooring)2,015144,846291.914.629,458
Corrugated and Solid Fiber Box Manufacturing713456,261325.339.928,446
Wood Window and Door Manufacturing1,313206,045270.519.425,520
All Other Converted Paper Product Manufacturing589310,425182.828.716,892
Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing448408,196182.937.116,605
Hardwood Veneer and Plywood Manufacturing493285,075140.531.415,479
Truss Manufacturing429305,422131.034.814,924
Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing241603,910145.551.612,427
Prefabricated Wood Building Manufacturing567192,605109.219.611,127
Manufactured Home (Mobile Home) Manufacturing560175,45798.319.010,625
Cut Stock, Resawing Lumber, and Planing607152,79892.717.010,319
Stationery Product Manufacturing388265,244102.924.69,543
Paper (except Newsprint) Mills315324,282102.126.78,426
Forest Nurseries and Gathering of Forest Products72768,34949.78.56,161
Other Paperboard Container Manufacturing201254,74351.227.95,600
Sanitary Paper Product Manufacturing135382,62051.737.25,019
Wood Preservation371118,96344.112.54,638
Softwood Veneer and Plywood Manufacturing62687,27342.651.63,197
Paperboard Mills98333,93132.732.03,137
Engineered Wood Member (except Truss) Manufacturing122230,22928.124.32,962
Pulp Mills84347,06629.225.52,146
Reconstituted Wood Product Manufacturing24163,45315.36.91,658
Newsprint Mills48181,2418.713.3640

California forest products companies received the greatest number of loans (2,019) and the largest amount ($358 million) across all US states. Seven other states received in excess of $200 million each in PPP loans to forest products companies: Oregon, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, New York, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Fig. 4. Total value of PPP loans provided to forest products companies

New Jersey saw the greatest average loan value at $249,013. The US Virgin Islands, Hawaii, Vermont, Puerto Rico, and Wyoming saw the smallest average loan value, each less than $60,000.

Table 4: Mean value and number of jobs supported by PPP loans provided to forest products companies in each state.
State nameNum loansAvg loan value (USD)Total loan value (USD, millions)Avg num jobsTotal num jobs
District of Columbia12240,6492.918.8226
Northern Mariana Islands1145,0000.138.038
North Carolina1,232128,518158.314.317,565
North Dakota60131,2457.913.4806
New Hampshire291120,99535.210.43,034
New Jersey468249,013116.521.710,174
New Mexico105122,60812.915.81,655
New York1,290167,045215.516.621,392
Puerto Rico10257,6705.912.61,287
Rhode Island100194,36819.420.32,033
South Carolina634137,41987.114.89,400
South Dakota15181,42612.38.41,263
U.S. Virgin Islands334,8120.17.723
West Virginia38876,92029.89.63,720

In 2020, Pelkki and Sherman reported on each state’s economic contribution from the forest industry. It seems useful to compare a state’s use of PPP loans to the contribution of forestry to GDP in that state. The table below shows the rankings of total contribution of forestry a state’s GDP (compiled from Pelkki and Sherman 2020; their Figure 2) alongside the ranking of total PPP loan amounts provided to states.

Table 5: Rankings of highest total contribution of forestry to state GDP (from Pelkki and Sherman 2020) and total PPP loan amounts to states.
StateTotal contribution to GDP rankTotal PPP loan value rank
North Carolina512
New York86

Rankings for each state are generally consistent with a few notable exceptions. States in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington) along with Michigan were “PPP winners”, obtaining a greater proportion of PPP loans relative to their state’s economic contribution to GDP. States in the southeastern US (Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina) ranked in the top ten for total contribution to GDP but outside of the top ten in their total value of PPP loans requested.


In total, PPP loans to the forest products industry helped to support 487,000 jobs with loan amounts totaling $4.7 billion. Over 35,000 loans were offered to forest products companies in the US from April 2020 through May 2021 through the PPP program. Funds for the PPP program ran out three weeks earlier than expected in early May 2021, pointing to a slow economic recovery across US businesses. In the forest products industry, PPP loans have no doubt helped companies to keep workers employed in this essential industry.

By Matt Russell

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