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

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

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