The value of loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration increased 24 percent in Maine in the past year.

For the 12 months ended Sept. 30, more than $110 million in funding was given to Maine small businesses through 422 loans. That marked a 24 percent jump in loan dollars, compared with $89.1 million in the prior fiscal year, and an 18 percent increase in the total number of loans, the SBA said.

“Small businesses across Maine and America are the driving force behind our economy and its continued recovery, and it’s critical that they have access to the financial capital and other vital resources that will help them to grow and be successful,” U.S. Sen Angus King, I-Maine, said in a statement. “The SBA’s announcement today demonstrates that Maine is setting the gold-standard for lending.”

Small businesses in Maine employed 282,460 workers in 2010, with most of the jobs coming from firms with 20 to 499 workers, the SBA said.

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