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Economic Decline Reported in Several US Cities Hit by China Trade War

Source: Milken Institute, 2020

American cities exposed to the repercussions of the United States-China trade war are feeling the pinch economically, the Milken Institute’s Best Performing Cities 2020 report shows.

“Agriculture, logistics, and manufacturing are all sectors represented in the metro areas seeing the most significant declines,” the report reads, as listed on the table to the right. The trade war “hurt these sectors, since they are interconnected not only to each other but also to the ups and downs of international markets.”

Conversely, the tech industry continues to power the economies of the best performing U.S. cities, chief among them San Francisco. Cities enjoying the tech wave and diversifying their approach are moving up the ranks, such as Reno, Nevada. “The arrival of Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 transformed [the Reno] metro’s economic landscape,” the report says.

Cities reliant on the defense sector, natural resources and exports also saw improvement — though export-oriented cities, such as Charleston, South Carolina, may face challenges should trade tensions between the U.S. and China persist.

50% of Jobs Lost in US Performing Arts Due to COVID-19

Source: Brookings Institution

The creative industry will lose an estimated 31% of jobs and 9% of its sales in the United States due to the impact from coronavirus. Fine and performing arts will see the heaviest loss at 1.4 million jobs and $42.5 billion in sales, according to estimates from the Brookings Institution, due to the pause in live performances.  

The southern region of the U.S. will suffer the most losses, followed by the western region, as creative industries in these areas are larger, with California, New York and Texas being most economically affected.

The creative industry is “one of the sectors most at risk from COVID-19,” says Brookings. The sector heavily supports other regional economies as well, and without the right financial support, “the damage will have reverberating effects” beyond the economy, on culture and quality of life.

News Deserts Are a Major Loss for Communities Across the US

Source: UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media

More than 2,100 — or one quarter — of newspapers have disappeared in the United States since 2004. 

News deserts, or areas with one local newspaper or none, “contribute to the cultural, economic and political divide within the country,” according to a report from the University of North Carolina. Those who live in news deserts tend to be older, less formally educated and more economically vulnerable, and their lack of access to local news may result in less political engagement and interest in voting. 

During a crisis, local news outlets play a vital role in distributing the latest safety information, but the Brookings Institution found that half of the counties reporting COVID-19 cases in April were in news deserts. Without information from local news on how the pandemic is playing out on a community level and how locals can best protect themselves against the virus, those in news deserts could be more vulnerable to its spread.

Working Hours Lost at 10 Times the Rate of the 2008 Crisis During COVID-19

Source: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The impact of job hours lost during the coronavirus pandemic is already 10 times greater compared to the early months of the 2008 Great Recession. The economy is not expected to bounce back to its pre-pandemic levels until after 2021, according to the OECD.

COVID-19 has seen a steeper rise in unemployment and a broader reach among the population compared to the Great Recession. The Great Recession reached its unemployment peak in January 2010 at 10.6% — a rate that we surpassed in May 2020 at 13.0% (and it’s still rising). Almost every age group has been economically affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, while during the Great Recession, parts of the older generations were relatively more insulated from the economic fallout.

This drastic job loss could further expand the poverty-wealth gap and backtrack both progress toward gender equality and the ability of younger generations to be financially independent, purchase a home or pay off student loans. The effects of unemployment on mental health are substantial as well and will likely continue increasing during this crisis.

Most US Adults Believe Pressure Led to Corporate Statements About Race

Source: Pew Research Center

Note: Across racial, ethnic groups, more see pressure rather than genuine concern as contributing a great deal to companies’ statements about race.

Only 19% of U.S. adults believe corporate statements about race were made from genuine concern, as opposed to societal pressure. Conversely, nearly 70% of respondents to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center perceive pressure as the main contributor to public statements about race or racial equity, with 59% of white respondents, 43% of Asian respondents and 32% of both Black and Hispanic respondents feeling the same way. 

In making these statements, a mirror has been held up to companies’ own internal diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts, as well as their actions of support for marginalized communities local to their area. 

Without their own DEI initiatives, intentional recruitment, diverse leadership, pay equity reviews, or external action to support statements about the imperative of racial justice, for example, these companies may be criticized for empty virtue signaling. The majority of consumers want to know where companies stand on certain issues, but they also need to see how companies exemplify their own purported beliefs.

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