Special Report

State Economies Most Likely to Be Crippled by COVID-19

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40. Texas
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 19.6% of total (11th highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 1.3 million (9.3% of workforce — 4th lowest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 25,297 (8.8 per 10,000 people — 11th lowest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 663 (0.2 per 10,000 people — 10th lowest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.2% (21st lowest)

The oil and gas extraction industry employs far more people in Texas than in most other states — and the industry is more exposed than most to a slowdown in the wake of COVID-19. Still, the Lone Star State economy has been more resilient than most to the economic repercussions of the efforts to contain the virus. So far, just 9.3% of the state’s labor force have filed for unemployment since mid-March, a smaller share than in all but three other states. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott plans to reopen the state on May 1.

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39. Arkansas
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 17.0% of total (23rd lowest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 158,982 (11.7% of workforce — 14th lowest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 3,001 (10.0 per 10,000 people — 14th lowest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 50 (0.2 per 10,000 people — 7th lowest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.3% (22nd lowest)

The unemployment rate in Arkansas in March 2020 stood at 4.8% — higher than the 4.4% national rate. However, job losses in the coming months will likely not be as bad in the state as in much of the rest of the country. According to estimates from the EPI, the state’s projected unemployment rate in July will be 15.3%, below the projection of 15.6% for the national unemployment rate.

In Arkansas, workers are less likely to be employed in the industries bearing the economic brunt of the pandemic. Arkansas also has a lower rate of confirmed cases than most other states.

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38. Wisconsin
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 15.8% of total (15th lowest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 392,674 (12.7% of workforce — 20th lowest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 5,911 (10.2 per 10,000 people — 15th lowest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 272 (0.5 per 10,000 people — 25th highest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.6% (19th highest)

So far, Wisconsin has not been hit as hard as most other states by the virus. The state’s infection count of about 10 cases per 10,000 residents is well below the national figure of 29.4 per 10,000. The economic toll has also been lighter than average in Wisconsin. Since mid-March, just 12.7% of the labor force have filed for unemployment, a smaller share than in the majority of states.

As is the case in the rest of the country, the situation in Wisconsin remains fluid. A recent study found that over a third of businesses in the state could fail if the shutdown lasts three months. So far, Wisconsin has been shut down for just over one month.

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37. Vermont
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 15.4% of total (10th lowest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 50,987 (14.8% of workforce — 20th highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 834 (13.3 per 10,000 people — 25th lowest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 47 (0.8 per 10,000 people — 17th highest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.0% (16th lowest)

Only 15.4% of workers in Vermont are employed in industries that are highly exposed to an economic slowdown in the wake of COVID-19. Gov. Phil Scott has already begun reopening certain construction and manufacturing businesses as of April 27, with more businesses, including farmer’s markets, slated to reopen on May 1. The state has been under a stay-at-home order since March 25.

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36. Minnesota
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 14.9% of total (4th lowest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 503,134 (16.3% of workforce — 16th highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 3,816 (6.8 per 10,000 people — 7th lowest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 286 (0.5 per 10,000 people — 22nd highest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.0% (16th lowest)

Minnesota is one of only a handful of states where fewer than 15% of all workers are employed in industries that are expected to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 economic downturn. Partially as a result, the state’s unemployment rate in the coming months is not expected to climb as high as it will likely climb in most other states.

So far, the coronavirus has not infected many people in Minnesota. There have been just 6.8 confirmed infections for every 10,000 state residents as of April 27, lower than in all but six other states.

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