Which states will be hit hardest by coronavirus-related job losses? See the list.

Which states will be hit hardest by coronavirus-related job losses? See the list.

States like Nevada and Florida that depend heavily on tourism will be hit hardest by coronavirus-related job losses this year while rural states will be most insulated, according to an analysis by IHS Markit.

“All 50 states will experience declines” in employment, says IHS regional economist Karl Kuykendall. But, he added, “States that rely a lot on travel are going to be hit particularly hard.”

Midwest manufacturing strongholds will also be hammered as consumer demand for cars and other products wilts and some factories remain closed to contain the spread of the pandemic, he says. States that experience higher infection rates could lag as more residents continue to hunker down at home.

IHS projected the percentage drop in employment for each state in 2020 rather than total job losses, which are likely to be higher in more populous states. The forecast accounts for a plunge as the outbreak keeps restaurants, stores and other businesses shuttered until late spring or early summer and a then gradual rebound the rest of the year as most merchants reopen. Yet IHS’s forecast still leaves payrolls at the end of the 2020 below their levels a year earlier in every state.

Sharpest projected COVID-19 job loss

Here are the five states with the sharpest projected declines in employment this year, according to IHS:


Estimated employment decline: 9.8%.

Payrolls in leisure and hospitality make up a quarter of all jobs, more than twice the U.S. average, IHS says. Nevada casino-hotels, including those in Las Vegas, are closed. Many Americans, fearful of being infected on airplanes, have shunned flying and could do so for some time even after they resume other activities.


Estimated employment decline: 7.9%.

The Sunshine State similarly depends on worldwide tourist attractions such as its beaches and Disney World. The state also could be hit by an outsize share of coronavirus cases because of its large population of older residents, holding down consumer spending longer and slowing the rehiring of restaurant, retail and other workers, Kuykendall says.


Estimated employment decline: 7.5%.

Despite the steel industry’s decline, manufacturing still makes up 9.3% of payrolls, 10% more than the U.S. average. Also, close ties with New York City leave Philadelphia vulnerable to contagion effects from that epicenter of the outbreak, Kuykendall says.

South Carolina

Estimated employment decline: 7.3%.

Manufacturing, highlighted by BMW’s plant in Spartanburg and Boeing’s assembly plant in North Charleston, accounts for 11.7% of employment, nearly 40% more than the U.S. average. The state also depends on the tourism in popular destinations such as Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head.


Estimated employment decline: 7.2%.

The big automakers have mostly shut down their U.S. plants to avoid virus contagion. Manufacturing accounts for 14.3% of employment, nearly 70% more than the U.S.average.

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