COVID-19

Cities that rely heavily on tourism hit hardest by COVID-19 job losses

Meghan McCarty Carino Jun 5, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Joe Raedle/Getty Images
COVID-19

Cities that rely heavily on tourism hit hardest by COVID-19 job losses

Meghan McCarty Carino Jun 5, 2020
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

At a time when forecasters were thinking the unemployment rate would continue to soar — to nearly 20% — the data for May actually show a slight improvement. Unemployment is down to 13.3%, which is terrible compared to pre-pandemic numbers, but still better than the month prior.

Earlier this week, the Department of Labor broke down which cities had been hit the hardest with job losses through April. Two cities in Hawaii, followed by Las Vegas and Atlantic City, topped the list for the highest rates of unemployment in the country.

“These are areas that depend significantly on tourism, travel, people coming to conventions, and that’s all stopped, and they got hit hard early on,” said Mark Zandi with Moody’s Analytics.

Zandi says that while many areas of the country have started to reopen, tourism and business travel will likely remain depressed as long as worries about the coronavirus persist.

Several midwestern cities with strong ties to manufacturing also ranked high for unemployment, but could improve faster should business return to normal quickly.

Jed Kolko, chief economist with the job search site Indeed, says that in recent weeks, he’s seen a drop in job postings in places other than just tourism spots.

“Rather, they’re some of the big tech and finance hubs across the U.S.,” Kolko said. “Ironically some of the places where it’s easier to work from home.”

He says the slowdown in those sectors may be less about the current shutdowns and more about uncertainty over the future health of the economy.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the latest on the extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

As of now, those $600-a-week payments will stop at the end of July. For many, unemployment payments have been a lifeline, but one that is about to end, if nothing changes. The debate over whether or not to extend these benefits continues among lawmakers.

With a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, are restaurants and bars shutting back down?

The latest jobs report shows that 4.8 million Americans went back to work in June. More than 30% of those job gains were from bars and restaurants. But those industries are in trouble again. For example, because of the steep rise in COVID-19 cases in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, increased restrictions on restaurant capacities and closed bars. It’s created a logistical nightmare.

Which businesses got Paycheck Protection Program loans?

The numbers are in — well, at least in part. The federal government has released the names of companies that received loans of $150,000 or more through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Some of the companies people are surprised got loans include Kanye West’s fashion line, Yeezy, TGI Fridays and P.F. Chang’s. The companies you might not recognize, particularly some smaller businesses, were able to hire back staff or partially reopen thanks to the loans.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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