Charts of the Week: Tracking deaths of despair; the pandemic’s economic damage; uneven PPP distribution in metros

Map: US optimism

In this week’s edition of Charts of the Week, three items related to the coronavirus pandemic, including tracking deaths of despair in the U.S., permanent changes to the economy, and the uneven distribution of COVID-19 relief resources.

Tracking vulnerability and premature mortality in America


Map: US optimism

“COVID-19 delivered an unprecedented economic shock to our economy and to those around the world,” write Carol Graham and Sergio Pinto, introducing their new tool for tracking vulnerability and premature mortality in America, “and is holding up a magnifying glass to our country’s deep inequities and challenges—including our crisis of deaths of despair.” Graham and Pinto aim to explore the roll of well-being in mitigating these shocks, and “hope that the trends that our vulnerability indicator uncovers over time can inform this important question as we navigate difficult economic, health, and ill-being challenges in uncertain times.” Use their interactive charts to explore state- and county-level data in detail.

Is the pandemic permanently changing the economy?

Figure: Percent change in employment relative to business cycle peakWendy Edelberg and Jay Shambaugh analyze “how the current crisis fits into historic context and what will be the long-lasting economic consequences.” They note that of the 18 million individuals reporting being unemployed in June, one of six report that they have permanent employment loss. “The increase in permanent separations dwarfs the early losses in other recessions,” Edelberg and Shambaugh write, concluding that “policy needs to focus on pushing the economy back to its full potential and cushioning those most directly harmed by the downturn.” Their post introduces three new essays from The Hamilton Project on how the current economic shock could fundamentally alter the economy.

COVID-19 relief loans are helping some places more than others

Fig1ABJoseph Parilla and Sifan Liu write that new data from Treasury and the Small Business Administration “reveals interesting variations in PPP loans across states and metro areas, indicating that federal relief is not going to the places and businesses where it’s needed most.” While COVID-19 has impacted different metro areas differently,  Parilla and Liu conclude “that policymakers need to understand and reckon with PPP’s spatial mismatch.”