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Via Brookings Metro

Across the country, consumer spending, which supports 70% of the economy, is crashing as people avoid stores, restaurants, movie theaters, offices, and other public places. Already, layoffs have begun in both big cities like Seattle and Atlanta as well as small heartland towns.

But as recession forecasts proliferate, it’s not necessarily true that all areas will be hit equally hard. In a huge nation made up of diverse places and varied local economies, a look at the geography of highly exposed industries makes clear that the economic toll of any coming recession will hit different regions in disparate, uneven ways.

To illustrate this, Brookings mapped the employment geography of a variety of industries vulnerable to disruption by virus-related demand declines, shutdowns, and layoffs by identifying the “most at risk” industry groups: mining/oil and gas, transportation, employment services, travel arrangements, and leisure and hospitality.

Add the numbers up and the scale of the current problem emerges. 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.

The numbers underscore the massive size of the nation’s reeling leisure and hospitality sector. 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.

Read the full report. 

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