Special Report

US Industries Being Devastated by the Coronavirus

Source: David McNew / Getty Images


The U.S. retail industry has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, and a number of stores have had to close their doors. Retail sales fell by more than 6% in March 2020 as compared to March of the previous year. Many retailers were already struggling before the pandemic, and now they are trying desperately to avoid closing permanently.

Retailers like T.J. Maxx, Macy’s, Gap, Urban Outfitters, and more have announced they will furlough hundreds of thousands of workers. One Jefferies analyst told CNBC, “With stores accounting for 75% of sales for most retailers, we anticipate massive EPS (earnings per share) declines for 1Q, especially as most retailers appear to be paying employees during the 2 week closures.”

Source: David McNew / Getty Images


As mass gatherings of people have been declared unsafe, many of the massive conventions that draw thousands of attendees from across the globe have been canceled. The cancellations of tech conferences like E3, SXSW, and more have likely cost local economies over $1.1 billion, according to data company PredictHQ. In 2019 alone, SXSW’s full-time and seasonal workers had an economic impact of over $350 million on the Austin, Texas, economy, according to consulting firm Greyhill Advisors and SXSW.

The cancellation of the E3 conference has also cost the video game industry its biggest week of the year. New games and consoles are often unveiled at the event, which usually hosts over 65,000 guests. Facebook and Google also had to scrap their own conventions. This moratorium on large gatherings could devastate the 55,000-person industry of convention and trade show organizers in the U.S.

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Food service

Between full- and limited-service restaurants, caterers, buffets, and more, well over 10 million Americans work in the food service industry. States have ordered restaurants to offer only takeout, drive-thru, and delivery options as a preventive measure, which has cut into restaurants revenues and profits and could jeopardize jobs in the food service field, which is largely made up of hourly workers.

Of the 701,000 Americans who lost their job in March, 417,000 worked in bars, restaurants, or other food service occupations. This may only get worse as the National Restaurant Association expects 5 million – 7 million Americans in the hospitality sector will be out of work by the end of June.

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Theme parks

Large theme parks have stopped welcoming guests in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, closing the massive industry for the foreseeable future. Disney is by far the largest theme park operator in the world, with six parks — all of which were shuttered as the outbreak spread. Disney reported over $26.2 billion in revenue from its parks in fiscal 2019. Dividing this evenly throughout the year would mean the company could lose revenue of around $500 million per week of parks closure, assuming the same revenue this year.

Other prominent parks have been affected as well. All SeaWorld parks are closed; Six Flags temporarily closed 10 of its parks; and Universal Studios closed its Orlando and Hollywood parks through the end of May. Nationwide, there are nearly 200,000 people who work at theme parks, many of whom could be out of work throughout the worst of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Gyms were already facing challenges from home exercise companies like Peloton, and social distancing recommendations and the fear of the spread of the coronavirus have further added to the challenges large gyms and group fitness classes face.

In every state, gyms have been either ordered to shut down or were forced to because of bans on large gatherings. Prior to the pandemic, gyms and boutique fitness classes ballooned into a $94 billion industry that is now in jeopardy.

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