Special Report

State Economies Most Likely to Be Crippled by COVID-19

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10. Michigan
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 16.4% of total (17th lowest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 1.2 million (23.9% of workforce — 4th highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 37,778 (37.8 per 10,000 people — 8th highest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 3,315 (3.3 per 10,000 people — 6th highest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.2% (21st lowest)

In Michigan, 1.2 million people have filed for unemployment since mid-March. That’s nearly 24% of the state’s total workforce, a larger share than in all but four other states. Michigan — particularly the city of Detroit — have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus. As of April 27, the statewide infection count per capita was 37.8 cases per 10,000, the eighth highest among states.

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9. New York
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 15.1% of total (7th lowest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 1.4 million (14.6% of workforce — 24th highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 288,045 (147.4 per 10,000 people — the highest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 16,966 (8.7 per 10,000 people — the highest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 16.4% (8th highest)

While workers in nearly all industries have been affected by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, in some industries workers have been hurt more than others. In New York, 56% of employment is in industries deemed low risk by Moody’s, including financial activities, information, and health care.

However, New York has also been by far the hardest hit state by COVID-19 in the country, with 147.4 reported cases per 10,000 people, the highest of any state and five times the national rate of 29.4 cases per 10,000. The state’s stay-at-home order is set to remain in effect through at least the end of May.

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8. Alaska
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 21.8% of total (4th highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 61,245 (17.7% of workforce — 12th highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 341 (4.6 per 10,000 people — 3rd lowest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 9 (0.1 per 10,000 people — 4th lowest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 17.8% (3rd highest)

Due in large part to Alaska’s substantial oil and gas industry, more than one in every five workers in the state are employed in sectors that are most likely to face a slowdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Partially as a result, the unemployment problem is projected to be far worse in Alaska in the coming months than in much of the rest of the country. According to EPI projections, an estimated 17.8% of workers in Alaska will be unemployed by July, well above the anticipated 15.6% U.S. unemployment rate that month.

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7. Pennsylvania
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 16.7% of total (20th lowest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 1.5 million (23.2% of workforce — 5th highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 42,050 (32.8 per 10,000 people — 10th highest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 1,597 (1.2 per 10,000 people — 11th highest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 16.6% (7th highest)

In Pennsylvania, a staggering 1.5 million workers have filed for unemployment since mid-March, the largest single total for any state other than California. Those newly unemployed Pennsylvanians comprise 23.2% of the state’s labor force. The state’s March unemployment rate of 6.0% was the fourth highest of any state. The EPI estimates the state will have an unemployment rate of 16.6% by July. Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home order as of the time of this writing was set to expire on May 8, and Gov. Tom Wolf has opted to permit residents to engage in limited outdoor activities.

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6. Kentucky
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 19.4% of total (13th highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 499,572 (24.3% of workforce — 2nd highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 4,074 (9.1 per 10,000 people — 13th lowest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 208 (0.5 per 10,000 people — 25th lowest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 16.3% (10th highest)

Kentucky has one of the highest shares of state employment in industries most vulnerable to the economic effects of the pandemic, including transportation and warehousing. The state has the second highest share among states of employment in the sector. The state’s roughly 500,000 new unemployment claims since mid-March constitute nearly one-quarter of the state’s total workforce, the second highest share of any U.S. state.

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