Special Report

State Economies Most Likely to Be Crippled by COVID-19

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40. Iowa
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 14.9% of total (3rd lowest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 325,836 (19.0% of workforce — 18th lowest)
> COVID cases as of June 1, 2020: 19,688 (624 per 100,000 people — 11th highest)
> COVID deaths as of June 1, 2020: 538 (17 per 100,000 people — 20th highest)
> April unemployment rate: 10.2% (11th lowest)

Iowa is one of only five states where fewer than 15% of workers are employed in industries that are at high risk of slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not surprisingly, the state’s unemployment crisis is not as severe as it is in much of the rest of the country. Iowa’s unemployment rate of 10.2% is well below the national jobless rate of 14.7%.

While Iowa’s economy has weathered the pandemic better than most states so far, it has been hit harder than most states by the virus itself. There have been 624 confirmed cases of COVID-19 for every 100,000 people in the state as of June 1, more than in the majority of states.

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39. Colorado
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 18.6% of total (19th highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 424,716 (13.6% of workforce — 4th lowest)
> COVID cases as of June 1, 2020: 26,577 (467 per 100,000 people — 18th highest)
> COVID deaths as of June 1, 2020: 1,458 (26 per 100,000 people — 13th highest)
> April unemployment rate: 11.3% (17th lowest)

Colorado’s unemployment claims since the crisis began, while high, have been relatively low compared to most other states. Nearly 425,000 Colorado residents have filed for unemployment since mid-March, or 13.6% of the workforce — the fourth smallest share of any state. The state’s official April unemployment rate of 11.3% is also well below the 14.7% national rate.

While Colorado’s economy is faring better than most other states, residents are more likely to be pessimistic about their own personal finances and the broader business community. The consumer sentiment index is lower in Colorado than in 41 other states.

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38. Oregon
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 16.4% of total (18th lowest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 412,431 (19.7% of workforce — 24th lowest)
> COVID cases as of June 1, 2020: 4,302 (103 per 100,000 people — 4th lowest)
> COVID deaths as of June 1, 2020: 154 (4 per 100,000 people — 6th lowest)
> April unemployment rate: 14.2% (22nd highest)

Though Oregon was among the first few states to confirm a case of COVID-19, the state was able to contain the spread better than most states. There have been only 103 diagnosed cases of the virus in Oregon for every 100,000 people, a lower concentration than in all but three other states.

Oregon is also in a better position than most states to continue operations in the face of reduced revenue due to the coronavirus. According to a Moody’s analysis, Oregon is one of only a handful of states not projected to have a budget shortfall in the coming year.

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37. Vermont
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 15.4% of total (10th lowest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 66,571 (19.4% of workforce — 22nd lowest)
> COVID cases as of June 1, 2020: 983 (157 per 100,000 people — 6th lowest)
> COVID deaths as of June 1, 2020: 55 (9 per 100,000 people — 18th lowest)
> April unemployment rate: 15.6% (9th highest)

Vermont is one of the few states in the Northeast with an economy that will likely fare better than most of the rest of the country. Only 15.4% of workers in the state are employed in industries most exposed to slowdown in the wake of the pandemic. Vermont is also better positioned to absorb a revenue shortfall in the wake of the pandemic. With $224 million in a rainy day fund, Vermont has enough saved to fund about 13% of its annual expenditures, a larger share than all but seven other states.

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36. Wisconsin
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 15.8% of total (15th lowest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 578,857 (18.7% of workforce — 17th lowest)
> COVID cases as of June 1, 2020: 18,543 (319 per 100,000 people — 24th lowest)
> COVID deaths as of June 1, 2020: 595 (10 per 100,000 people — 22nd lowest)
> April unemployment rate: 14.1% (23rd highest)

Wisconsin has not been hit as hard as most other states by the coronavirus. The state’s infection count of about 319 cases per 100,000 residents is well below the national figure of 547 per 100,000. The economic toll has also been lighter than average in Wisconsin. Since mid-March, just 18.7% of the labor force have filed for unemployment, a smaller share than in the majority of states.

Still, Wisconsin residents are more likely to be pessimistic about their own personal finances and the broader business community. The consumer sentiment index is lower in Wisconsin than in 42 other states.

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