Special Report

State Economies Most Likely to Be Crippled by COVID-19

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20. South Carolina
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 19.6% of total (10th highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 347,137 (14.7% of workforce — 23rd highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 5,490 (10.8 per 10,000 people — 16th lowest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 174 (0.3 per 10,000 people — 16th lowest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.0% (16th lowest)

A relatively high 55.9% of employment in South Carolina is in industries that are either at medium or high levels of vulnerability to the negative economic effects of the pandemic and the measures implemented to control it. The state has a relatively large leisure and hospitality industry, which has been one of the hardest-hit industries during this crisis.

In late March, the South Carolina Small Business Chamber conducted a poll of its members, and 60% of respondents said that without a cash infusion, they would go out of business within three months. Nationwide, some small businesses have been able to access loans from the Small Business Administration, but others have not been able to secure funding.

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19. Washington
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 15.0% of total (5th lowest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 717,570 (18.5% of workforce — 10th highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 13,521 (17.9 per 10,000 people — 18th highest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 749 (1.0 per 10,000 people — 14th highest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.2% (21st lowest)

In Washington state, a staggering 18.5% of the workforce has filed for unemployment since March 15. Washington was one of the earliest hit states by COVID-19, and a stay-at-home order has been in place since March 23. Despite efforts to contain the spread of the virus, Washington has a higher infection count per capita than most other states. So far, there have been 13,521 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington, or 17.9 for every 10,000 people, 18th highest among states but lower than the national figure of 29.4 per 10,000.

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18. California
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 17.9% of total (22nd highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 3.4 million (17.3% of workforce — 13th highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 43,703 (11.0 per 10,000 people — 19th lowest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 1,720 (0.4 per 10,000 people — 21st lowest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 15.6% (19th highest)

On March 19, 2020 California became the first state to impose a stay-at-home order. With a longer shutdown period than most states, California has also had higher than average unemployment claims. Between March 15 and April 18, some 3.4 million Californians applied for unemployment, or 17.3% of the state’s workforce — a larger share than in most other states. California is coordinating the reopening of nonessential businesses with nearby Oregon and Washington states.

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17. Wyoming
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 25.5% of total (3rd highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 25,707 (8.9% of workforce — 3rd lowest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 370 (6.4 per 10,000 people — 6th lowest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 7 (0.1 per 10,000 people — 3rd lowest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 16.3% (10th highest)

Wyoming is one of the largest producers of coal, oil, and natural gas in the country, producing 15 times more energy than it consumes. As energy prices have plummeted, the state’s energy extraction companies have struggled. As of 2018, 7.6% of employment in the state was in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, the highest share of any state and well above the 0.5% national share. Despite this, the state’s new unemployment claims have been among the lowest of any state relative to the size of the labor force. The COVID-19 infection count per capita has also been relatively low. However, the EPI projects the state’s unemployment rate could rise to 16.3% by July, which would be the 10th highest among states.

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16. Ohio
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 17.0% of total (24th lowest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 964,906 (16.7% of workforce — 15th highest)
> COVID cases as of April 27, 2020: 15,963 (13.7 per 10,000 people — 25th highest)
> COVID deaths as of April 27, 2020: 728 (0.6 per 10,000 people — 19th highest)
> Projected unemployment rate, July 2020: 16.4% (8th highest)

Almost 1 million Ohioans have filed for unemployment since mid-March, equal to a staggering 16.7% of the labor force. On April 28, Gov. Mike DeWine and his administration laid out plans to restart Ohio’s economy, including allowing a number of businesses in distribution, construction, and manufacturing businesses in the state to reopen. Ohio has one of the largest manufacturing workforces in the country.

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