The Regional Economic Impacts of the Coronavirus

The effects of a nationwide economic recession will likely hit hardest those regions with vulnerable sectors.

1 minute read

March 23, 2020, 10:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink

Empty Street

Dan Thibodeaux / Flickr

Mark Muro, Robert Maxim, and Jacob Whiton analyzed the potential effects of the coronavirus pandemic on five vulnerable sectors: mining/oil and gas, transportation, employment services, travel arrangements, and leisure and hospitality. "More than 24.2 million Americans work in the five high-risk sectors facing a sharp slowdown. This will likely prompt significant work disruptions, furloughs, and other uncertainties in the coming months."

At the metropolitan level, they find that metro areas of all sizes with large energy and leisure/hospitality sectors will be hit hard. "On the other end of the spectrum, the metro areas positioned to be least directly affected by COVID-19 are a diverse group consisting of older, manufacturing-heavy industrial cities, agricultural towns, and some already-distressed places," say Muro, Maxim, and Whiton.

They point out that most of the country will experience the severe economic toll of the pandemic and a recession could be on the horizon, but certain regions will face particular challenges. "This suggests an important takeaway for policymakers: While essentially all of America will likely be affected by COVID-19’s economic effects, those effects will be distinct and varied from place-to-place."

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