The state's small businesses appear to be gobbling up Government-backed loans offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SBA officials say 41% more businesses received loan approvals during the first five months of this year compared to the same time period last year. In numbers, that's 499 loans to the tune of $245 million dollars in 2012 compared to 354 loans for $185 million approved during the same time period last year.

SBA Region 2 Regional Administrator Jorge Silva Puras, who's territory covers New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, says New Jersey's numbers are actually better than the national numbers. He attributes the surge in loan approvals to increased confidence in the small business sector that he says is continuing to improve.

An SBA report shows Bergen, Monmouth, Middlesex, Essex, Union and Morris Counties as the top five in receiving loan approvals. Puras believes it's because of their proximity to New York City. He says the growth industries appear to be in the Service Sector, particularly in Health Care and Education.

What's interesting about this report, is that it's the first year Obama Administration incentives aren't being offered and they can compare loan data against 2010 when incentives were being offered from the Jobs Act of 2010 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

However, loan approvals seem to have declined sharply the further south you go in the state. In Ocean County, the report is showing a third fewer loans with loan dollar amounts nearly doubling. In Burlington County both the number of loans and the dollar amounts decreased. Gloucester County was the exception which went from 10 loans in 2011 to 16 in 2012 and the dollar amounts nearly doubling.


To help promote SBA loans in the Southern region of the state, the Administration has hired a full-time Marketing/Lender Relations Specialist covering Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Glouscester, Ocean and Salem Counties.

To get more information about the SBA report and loan information visit their website.