Charts of the Week: Coronavirus and metro areas

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As coronavirus spreads, Brookings experts are providing in-depth analysis and data to help understand the many facets of how the pandemic impacts our economy, politics, and lives in general. In this Charts of the Week, a few items from Metropolitan Policy Program scholars. For all coronavirus-related research, visit this page.

As a coronavirus recession looms, which cities achieved inclusive growth in the past decade’s boom?


“The prospect of a coronavirus-related recession is becoming more and more likely,” Alan Berube writes, adding that “more inclusive regional economies may be more resilient to economic downturns than others.” As a coronavirus-induced economic downturn approaches, where are the inclusive regional economies? The Brookings Metro Monitor report shows that over the last decade, beyond the two standouts of San Antonio and Vallejo, California, 12 metro areas registered progress on 13 of 15 Metro Monitor indicators. “These are lessons all metro areas in America should heed,” Berube concludes, “as we prepare to enter the bust-and-boom cycle once more.”

Where will the coronavirus recession hit hardest?

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“Across the country. Consumer spending- which supports 70% of the economy- is crashing in community after community,” according to Mark Muro, Robert Maxim, and Jacob Whiton. Layoffs have already begun in big cities such as Atlanta and Seattle. Adding up the numbers, more than 24.2 million Americans work in the five high-risk sectors that are facing a sharp slowdown. The authors identify one key takeaway, that “while essentially all of America will likely be affected by COVID-19’s economic effects, those effects will be distinct from place-to-place.”

Bail out airlines during the coronavirus pandemic but on taxpayers’ terms

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“The coronavirus pandemic has thrown America’s aviation industry into genuine chaos,” Adie Tomer and Joseph Kane explain. If planes don’t fly, multiple sectors throughout metro economies are impacted. The chart above shows metro areas where a higher share of people work in the aviation and related industries than the national average, the location quotient. Tomer and Kane conclude that “America needs a high-functioning aviation network to reach our economic potential. If we’re getting ready for a bailout, we should ensure it creates a more resilient and fair industry in the process.”