Special Report

State Economies Most Likely to Be Crippled by COVID-19

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35. North Dakota
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 19.8% of total (8th highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 70,116 (17.6% of workforce — 14th lowest)
> COVID cases as of June 1, 2020: 2,625 (345 per 100,000 people — 25th highest)
> COVID deaths as of June 1, 2020: 61 (8 per 100,000 people — 15th lowest)
> April unemployment rate: 8.5% (4th lowest)

Despite far higher than average employment concentration in industries at high risk of slowdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, such as oil and gas extraction, the unemployment crisis is, so far, not as severe in North Dakota as it is in most of the country. The state’s official unemployment rate of 8.5% is lower than in all but three other states and well below the 14.7% national rate.

North Dakota is also far better positioned to absorb a revenue shortfall in the wake of the pandemic. With $659 million in a rainy day fund, North Dakota has enough saved to fund 34% of its annual expenditures, a larger share than all but two other states.

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34. New Mexico
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 18.8% of total (18th highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 152,962 (16.1% of workforce — 7th lowest)
> COVID cases as of June 1, 2020: 7,800 (372 per 100,000 people — 21st highest)
> COVID deaths as of June 1, 2020: 362 (17 per 100,000 people — 19th highest)
> April unemployment rate: 11.3% (17th lowest)

New Mexico’s finances are in better shape than most other states, meaning the state will be better able to function at full-capacity even in the face of revenue declines in the wake of the pandemic. The state has roughly $1.9 billion saved in a rainy day fund, enough to cover nearly a quarter of annual expenditures — a larger share than all but three other states. New Mexico is also one of only a handful of states that is not projected to face a budget shortfall in the coming fiscal year.

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33. Maryland
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 15.7% of total (12th lowest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 562,381 (17.4% of workforce — 13th lowest)
> COVID cases as of June 1, 2020: 53,327 (883 per 100,000 people — 8th highest)
> COVID deaths as of June 1, 2020: 2,552 (42 per 100,000 people — 10th highest)
> April unemployment rate: 9.9% (8th lowest)

A relatively small share of workers in Maryland, 15.7%, are employed in industries that are projected to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 economic fallout. Partially as a result, Maryland is one only eight states where the unemployment rate stands below 10%.

While the unemployment crisis is not as severe in Maryland as it is in most other parts of the country, Maryland has been hit particularly hard by the virus itself. There have been 883 confirmed cases for every 100,000 states residents as of June 1, well above the 547 cases per 100,000 people nationwide.

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32. Texas
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 19.6% of total (11th highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 2,203,183 (15.7% of workforce — 6th lowest)
> COVID cases as of June 1, 2020: 64,880 (226 per 100,000 people — 13th lowest)
> COVID deaths as of June 1, 2020: 1,678 (6 per 100,000 people — 11th lowest)
> April unemployment rate: 12.8% (23rd lowest)

Despite having far higher than average employment in oil and gas extraction — an industry bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 slowdown — Texas has a far lower than average jobless rate. Just 12.8% of the state’s labor force is out of work, compared to the national unemployment rate of 14.7%.

Texas is also in a better position to weather a revenue decline than most states. With a far larger than average 17.4% of annual expenditures saved in a rainy day fund, Texas is one of only a handful of states projected to have no revenue shortfall in the coming fiscal year.

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31. Montana
> Workforce in high-risk industries: 19.4% of total (14th highest)
> Unemployment claims since mid-March: 104,827 (19.9% of workforce — 25th lowest)
> COVID cases as of June 1, 2020: 519 (49 per 100,000 people — 2nd lowest)
> COVID deaths as of June 1, 2020: 17 (2 per 100,000 people — 3rd lowest)
> April unemployment rate: 11.3% (17th lowest)

Montana to date has had the second lowest COVID-19 infections per capita of any state, at just 49 cases per 100,000 people as of June 1. The state’s job market has also not taken as much of a hit as most other states. Montana’s unemployment rate stands at 11.3%, well below the U.S. unemployment rate of 14.7%.

While joblessness is not as severe in Montana as it is elsewhere, state coffers will likely suffer in the face of a revenue shortfall during the pandemic and ensuing economic slowdown. The state is one of 21 with a projected budget deficit through fiscal 2021 of over 10%.

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