Special Report

State Economies Most Likely to Be Crippled by COVID-19

To determine the states most likely to be hurt economically by COVID-19, 24/7 Wall St. created a weighted index of four measures. The first measure, which comprises 30% of the index, is the share of total employment in industries deemed to be at high risk of slowdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. The second measure, which comprises 20% of the index, is the number of diagnosed cases per capita as of June 1, 2020. The third measure, which comprises 30% of the index, is the cumulative number of new unemployment claims made since the week ending March 21 as a share of the state labor force as of February 2020, from the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The fourth measure, which comprises 20% of the index, is the April unemployment rate, also from the BLS.

The identification of high-risk industries comes from the March 2020 paper “COVID-19: A Fiscal Stimulus Plan” published by Moody’s Analytics, an economics research firm.

Data on COVID-19 cases and deaths by state came from various state and local health departments and are current as of June 1, 2020. COVID-19 cases and death toll were adjusted for population using five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey. Population density was calculated using 2010 land area estimates from the Census Bureau and one-year population estimates from the 2018 ACS.

Supplemental data on rainy day fund balance at the end of fiscal 2019 as a percentage of expenditure, projected state revenue loss through fiscal 2021 relative to fiscal 2019 general fund revenues, and the projected budget shortfall in fiscal 2021 that would result for each state came from the April 2020 paper “Stress-Testing States: COVID-19” published by Moody’s. Estimated budget shortfalls refer to the state revenue loss through 2021 that would not be covered by reserves during a severe recession, and are based on Moody’s analysis.

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