Early Economic Effects of COVID-19 Concentrated in Large Metros

Big cities suffered the worst economic effects if the pandemic as of March, according to April data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

May 6, 2020, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Grocery Store

eldar nurkovic / Shutterstock

"New data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offer the first comprehensive evidence of how responses to COVID-19’s spread began to affect metropolitan economies through mid-March," according to an article by Alan Berube. 

"On April 3, that report indicated that the U.S. economy shed 701,000 jobs between mid-February and mid-March, and that the unemployment rate increased from 3.5% to 4.4%," according to Berube.

According to Berube, the primary takeaway from the new BLS data is of an unequal distribution of  economic effects early in the pandemic. Job losses were concentrated in very large metropolitan areas—both in early hot spots of the disease (e.g., New York and Detroit) and in places under early, strict shot down requirements (e.g., San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego).  

Earlier reporting on job losses at the local level noted that neighborhoods concentrating certain kinds of jobs (e.g., tourism and transportation) are experiencing the worst economic effects at the local level.


Wednesday, April 29, 2020 in Brookings

Street-level view of sharrow symbol on asphalt with parked car in background

How Sharrows Became Cycling’s Most Hated Symbol

Originally designed as a low-cost way to encourage safer road sharing between bikes and cars, the sharrow has become a symbol of the lack of commitment to protected bike infrastructure in many cities.

August 2, 2022 - Denverite

A image of the World's Columbian Exposition overlayed with a picture of Keanu Reeves in the rain from the movie Point Break.

Keanu Reeves Set to Play Daniel Burnham in ‘The Devil in the White City’

Planning is going to get a new level of star power as a limited series adaptation of The Devil in the White City gets ready for television screens in 2024.

August 8, 2022 - Reel Chicago

View from middle of street in downtown Telluride, Colorado with mountains in background

Marrying Urban Identity and Economic Prosperity

A new book posits that truly successful communities have a strong economic base and a firmly rooted sense of place.

August 5, 2022 - Governing

Rendering of downtown Milwaukee sports stadium with soccer field

Sports Stadiums Bring Few Economic Benefits

While their developers often tout jobs and local economic development as benefits of major stadium projects, research shows these venues often make little impact on local economies.

59 minutes ago - Urban Milwaukee

Dallas Freeways

A How-To for ‘Freeway Fighters’

Ten recommendations for effective freeway removal advocacy.

1 hour ago - Strong Towns

Rendering of elevated rail ine

Miami Rapid Transit Project Moves Forward

The county completed the draft environmental impact study for a monorail and people mover planned as part of its rapid transit system.

2 hours ago - The Next Miami

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.