Special Report

State Economies Most Likely to Be Crippled by COVID-19

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25. Illinois
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 18.8% of total (17th highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 737,472 (11.4% of workforce — 12th lowest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 43,903 (34.5 per 10,000 people — 9th highest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 1,933 (1.5 per 10,000 people — 8th highest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.6% (19th highest)

With 34.5 confirmed COVID-19 cases per 10,000 people, Illinois ranks among the 10 states with the highest infection counts per capita. Illinois also has a larger than typical share of workers employed in the industries expected to report the worst economic slowdown in the wake of the virus.

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24. Tennessee
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 20.3% of total (5th highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 383,618 (11.6% of workforce — 13th lowest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 9,667 (14.3 per 10,000 people — 23rd highest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 181 (0.3 per 10,000 people — 12th lowest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.8% (15th highest)

Tennessee is one of just six states where over 20% of state employment is in the most at-risk industries to the economic effects of COVID-19, such as transportation and warehousing. Combined with the state’s high employment in moderate-risk industries, such as manufacturing, 56.3% of employment in the state is in industries that are either at medium or high levels of vulnerability in the wake of the pandemic, the third highest share among states.

However, unemployment claims in the state so far have been relatively low, with the 383,618 filings since mid-March, equivalent to 11.6% of the state labor force, a lower share than the majority of states.

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23. New Hampshire
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 15.1% of total (9th lowest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 144,342 (18.8% of workforce — 9th highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 1,864 (13.7 per 10,000 people — 24th highest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 60 (0.4 per 10,000 people — 22nd lowest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.0% (16th lowest)

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate as of March was one of the lowest in the country, at 2.6% compared to the national rate of 4.4%, but this could change soon in the wake of the pandemic. Over 144,000 New Hampshire workers have filed for unemployment since mid-March, equivalent to about 19% of the state’s workforce.

New Hampshire has the highest concentration of employment in retail trade, an industry with a medium level of vulnerability to the economic effects of COVID-19. The state’s substantial dairy industry has struggled as well thanks to the closure of schools and restaurants. Farmers across the state are being forced to dump gallons of milk to keep prices under control.

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22. North Dakota
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 19.8% of total (8th highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 51,149 (12.8% of workforce — 23rd lowest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 942 (12.4 per 10,000 people — 21st lowest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 19 (0.2 per 10,000 people — 11th lowest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.6% (19th highest)

Oil and gas extraction is one of the industries expected to bear the brunt of the economic downturn — and North Dakota has the second highest share of workers in that industry of any state. Partially as a result, unemployment is projected to be worse in North Dakota than in most states in the coming months. In the lead up to the crisis, North Dakota had the best job market of any state with a March 2020 unemployment rate of just 2.2%. Now the EPI has projected the unemployment rate to climb to 15.6% by July, which is higher than the majority of other states.

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21. Indiana
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 18.0% of total (21st highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 515,177 (15.2% of workforce — 19th highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 15,961 (23.9 per 10,000 people — 12th highest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 844 (1.3 per 10,000 people — 10th highest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.0% (16th lowest)

As of March 15, over half a million people in Indiana have filed for unemployment, or 15.2% of the workforce — a larger share than in most states. Indiana has effectively been shut down since March 23, and the stay-at-home order is set to expire on May 1. Whether the order would indeed expire remains to be seen as Gov. Eric Holcomb has remained tight-lipped on the issue.

Indiana is one of the nation’s leading pork producers, and two pork processing plants temporarily shut down in the state. The plants’ closure may lead to price increases and shortages elsewhere in the United States.

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