Special Report

State Economies Most Likely to Be Crippled by COVID-19

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5. New Jersey
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 17.4% of total (24th highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 817,601 (18.3% of workforce — 11th highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 111,188 (124.8 per 10,000 people — 2nd highest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 6,044 (6.8 per 10,000 people — 2nd highest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.6% (19th highest)

New Jersey has relatively high concentrations of workers in industries less vulnerable to the economic fallout from the pandemic. — the state has among the highest concentrations of employment in health care as well as professional and business services occupations.

However, New Jersey is second only to neighboring New York state in the severity of the coronavirus outbreak. As of April 27, the state had over 111,000 cases, or 124.8 cases per 10,000 people, more than four times the nation’s 29.4 cases per 10,000 people.

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4. Rhode Island
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 17.1% of total (25th highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 131,977 (23.9% of workforce — 3rd highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 7,708 (72.9 per 10,000 people — 4th highest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 233 (2.2 per 10,000 people — 7th highest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.4% (24th lowest)

Like many other densely-populated states in the Northeast, Rhode Island has been hit especially hard by COVID-19, with over 72.9 reported cases per 10,000 residents as of April 27, compared to the national figure of 29.4 per 10,000. Since the middle of March, more than 130,000 state workers have filed for unemployment, equivalent to 23.9% of the state’s labor force — the third highest share of any state. The state labor department issued a statement on April 29 saying the pandemic will result in $1.1 billion in lost wages for state workers through the second quarter of 2020.

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3. Louisiana
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 19.5% of total (12th highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 442,151 (21.3% of workforce — 8th highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 27,068 (58.1 per 10,000 people — 6th highest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 1,697 (3.6 per 10,000 people — 5th highest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 18.0% (2nd highest)

Louisiana has been the hardest-hit state in the South from COVID-19, with 58.1 confirmed cases per 10,000 As of April 28, the sixth highest. Louisiana had the highest state unemployment rate in the country in March, at 6.9%. That will likely soon be much higher, as hundreds of thousands of state workers have lost their jobs in the past month. The EPI projects that the state’s unemployment rate could reach 18.0% by July, the second highest projection of any state.

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2. Hawaii
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 27.1% of total (2nd highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 171,708 (25.8% of workforce — the highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 606 (4.3 per 10,000 people — 2nd lowest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 14 (0.1 per 10,000 people — the lowest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 17.8% (3rd highest)

COVID-19 infections have been relatively uncommon in Hawaii — the state had the second fewest reported cases per capita of any state as of April 27, at 4.3 per 100,000, compared to the national figure of 29.4 per 10,000.

However, the relatively low number of cases has not stopped the pandemic from decimating the state economy. Since mid-March, over 170,000 Hawaiians have filed for unemployment, equivalent to a nation-worst 25.8% of the state’s labor force. Hawaii’s economy is especially concentrated in industries like travel and leisure and hospitality, two industries that have been especially hard-hit during the crisis.

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1. Nevada
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 33.5% of total (the highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 343,075 (22.4% of workforce — 6th highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 4,639 (15.3 per 10,000 people — 20th highest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 206 (0.7 per 10,000 people — 18th highest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 19.7% (the highest)

Over one-third of Nevada’s employment is in industries that are at the highest levels of risk from the economic effects of the pandemic. This is about double the national concentration of employment in these industries. The EPI estimates that Nevada will have close to a 20% unemployment rate by July, and that figure could be even higher, as already 25.8% of the state’s labor force has filed for unemployment.

On March 17, Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered all casinos in the state to cease operations. The state’s gaming revenue dropped 40% in March and could drop even more in April as casinos in the state will have been closed for over a month.

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