Hospitality, Retail Trade, Healthcare Among ‘Most Vulnerable Industries’ in Terms of Unemployment due to COVID-19

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

New Pioneer Institute analysis looks at Massachusetts industries hardest hit by March unemployment claims

BOSTON – Recent data provided by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development show that hospitality, retail trade, healthcare and social assistance, and construction are the industries that have suffered the most unemployment as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, according to the new Pioneer Institute report, A Look at the Massachusetts Industries that Are Most Vulnerable Due to COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 shutdown has obviously affected different parts of the economy differently,” says Executive Director Jim Stergios. “This is the first attempt to quantify the impacts, and this kind of work is the only way to craft solutions for our regional economies as Massachusetts turns its attention to opening up for business again.”

March saw the highest spike in unemployment claims in history, and the trend continued in the first two weeks of April.

While highlighting the four industries hardest hit by the pandemic, the Pioneer study, entitled A Look at the Massachusetts Industries that Are Most Vulnerable Due to COVID-19shows that local economies may be impacted by these trends based on their proportion of area jobs in these ‘vulnerable’ sectors.

In addition to each municipality being affected differently due to the makeup of its local economy, the hardest-hit municipalities also fall into various geographic clusters.

For example, the ten municipalities with the highest percentage of their total jobs in the hospitality super sector, which is made up of accommodation and food services as well as arts, recreation, and entertainment, are all found in either Western Massachusetts or the Cape and Islands. These towns represent economies that are made up of anywhere from 40 to 75 percent of total jobs in Hospitality, and the dire unemployment trends in this sector do not bode well for these communities which may be reliant on this sector.

Another example is the clustering of affected economies by community sub-type, as defined by the Massachusetts Area Planning Council. Towns with the highest percentage of total jobs in construction tend to be classified as more ‘rural’ or ‘developing’ community types, and they may experience more unemployment claims because of the proportion of construction jobs in these areas. Additionally, municipalities within these community sub types may require more consideration with respect to decisions regarding re-opening the economy and essential versus non-essential businesses.

“Boston is considered a hub of healthcare and social assistance, with roughly 20 percent of jobs in Boston in 2018 in this sector,” says Rebekah Paxton, co-author of the report, with Greg Sullivan. “However, there are municipalities with nearly half of their total jobs in healthcare across the state, including Sandisfield, Melrose, and Brookline.”

Interestingly, the retail trade sector jumped in the number of unemployment claims in April, despite being down the list after the initial unemployment data was released for March.

This analysis is important to understand the variety of economic impacts that will affect each municipality in the Commonwealth. While different sectors are experiencing shutdowns, adjustments, and layoffs, the municipalities that will be affected most acutely are those that have high proportions of their local economies within a single sector, and therefore may be reliant on these sectors to emerge from the crisis.

About the Authors

Gregory Sullivan is Pioneer’s Research Director. Prior to joining Pioneer, Sullivan served two five-year terms as Inspector General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and held several positions within that office previously. Sullivan was a 17-year member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, serving on the committees of Ways and Means, Human Services, and Post-Audit and Oversight. Greg holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, a master’s degree in public administration from The Kennedy School of Public Administration at Harvard, and a master’s degree from the Sloan School at M.I.T., with a concentration in finance.

Rebekah Paxton is a Research Analyst at Pioneer Institute. She has worked on various research projects under PioneerPublic and PioneerOpportunity, in areas of state finance, public policy, and labor relations. Currently she works on research using Pioneer’s employment database and the MassEconomix.org project. She earned a Master’s degree in Political Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics, from Boston University, where she graduated summa cum laude.

About Pioneer

Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.

Get Our COVID-19 News, Tips & Resources!

Recent Posts

American Federation for Children’s Tommy Schultz on School Choice & Edu Federalism

/
This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Tommy Schultz, CEO-elect of the American Federation for Children (AFC). They discuss how COVID-19 school closures have increased the interest in alternatives to public schools, and what AFC's polling shows on shifts in attitudes toward school choice options in both urban and rural communities.

Key Madison Park Program Lags Other State Voc-Techs, but Shows Signs of Improvement

The co-operative education program at Boston’s Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, which places students in paid positions with local employers, lags far behind other Massachusetts vocational-technical schools in terms of both placements and number of employer contacts.  But with the school as a whole beginning to improve after years of turmoil, the co-op is also showing promising signs, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, International Best-Selling Author & Human Rights Activist

/
This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, founder of the AHA Foundation, and author of the books Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women's Rights, Infidel: My Life, and Nomad: From Islam to America - A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations. 

Patient-centered Model Outshines Insurance-centered Healthcare during Pandemic

/
Joe Selvaggi talks with Pioneer Institute Senior Fellow Josh Archambault about his newest research paper entitled, "Direct Health Care Agreements: A New Option For Patient-Centered Care That Costs Less and Reduces Provider Burn-out" and how this emerging service model provided its patients with comprehensive health service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

WSJ Drama Editor Terry Teachout on Jazz Greats Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and guest co-host Kerry McDonald continue our celebration of Black achievements with Terry Teachout, drama critic at The Wall Street Journal, and author of such books as Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong and Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington.

Wealth Migration Trends: Remote Work Technology Empowers Workers to Live Anywhere

/
Host Joe Selvaggi talks with Pioneer Institute’s Andrew Mikula about his recent research into migration trends of high-income individuals, how pandemic-related technologies may accelerate that movement, and what challenges these changes present for policy makers.

UGA Prof. Valerie Boyd on Zora Neale Hurston, the Harlem Renaissance, & Black History Month

/
This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and Gerard celebrate Black History Month with Professor Valerie Boyd, the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence and Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Georgia, and the definitive biographer of Zora Neale Hurston. Boyd discusses why Hurston is such an important novelist and cultural figure, and the influence of Hurston’s 1937 classic novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, on American literature.

New Study Finds Pandemic-Spurred Technologies Lowered Barriers to Exit in High-Cost States

Both employers and households will find it easier to leave major job centers as technologies made commonplace by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a rethinking of the geography of work, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Interstate Legal Skirmish: New Hampshire Takes Massachusetts Telecommuter Tax to the Supreme Court

/
Host Joe Selvaggi talks with legal scholar and George Mason University Law Professor Ilya Somin about the details, the merits, and the likely implications of the Supreme Court case, New Hampshire v. Massachusetts, on state taxation power, federalism, and the power to vote with one’s feet.

Boston Catholic Schools Supt. Tom Carroll on National Catholic Schools Week

/
This week on “The Learning Curve," Cara and Gerard celebrate National Catholic Schools Week with Tom Carroll, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Boston. He shares his view of the value that Catholic schools add; the reasons for their success at improving student outcomes and creating a sense of community; and their commitment to serving children from underprivileged backgrounds, regardless of religious affiliation. 

Connecticut’s Painful Journey: Wealth Squandered, Lessons Learned, Promise Explored

/
Host Joe Selvaggi talks with Connecticut Business and Industry Association’s President and CEO, Chris DiPentima, about what policy makers can learn from Connecticut’s journey from the wealthiest state in the nation, to one with more than a decade of negative job growth.

New Study Shows Significant Wealth Migration from Massachusetts to Florida, New Hampshire

Over the last 25 years, Massachusetts has consistently lost taxable income, especially to Florida and New Hampshire, via out-migration of the wealthy, according to a new Pioneer Institute study. In “Do The Wealthy Migrate Away From High-Tax States? A Comparison of Adjusted Gross Income Changes in Massachusetts and Florida,” Pioneer Institute Research Director Greg Sullivan and Research Assistant Andrew Mikula draw on IRS data showing aggregate migration flows by amount of adjusted gross income (AGI). The data show a persistent trend of wealth leaving high-tax states for low-tax ones, especially in the Sun Belt.