If You Work in These 7 Industries, You Will Be Hit Hardest By COVID-19 Layoffs, Experts Say

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May 20, 2024 at 8:38AM UTC
Nearly 22 million people have filed for unemployment since COVID-19 shut down parts of the US economy, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Still, more layoffs and furloughs are expected to come. But what industries' employees are especially at risk of losing their positions?
According to research done by Moody's, it's not true that all industries will be hit hard by a COVID-19 fueled recession. Instead, certain industries are at especially high risk. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s, listed five industries as “most at risk” in a research note. These are those five — together, they account for about 24 million U.S. jobs.

1. Leisure and hospitality. 

A whopping 16,331,000 people worked in leisure and hospitality in 2019, making it home of about 11.1% of American jobs before COVID. Leisure and hospitality is considered the most at risk industry for layoffs and furloughs due to nationwide shut downs. The country has already seen businesses from restaurants to cruise lines lay off massive swaths of their staffs and further cuts are expected to come. 

2. Travel arrangements. 

219,000 people work in travel arrangements, making it .1% of the American workforce in 2019. Like the leisure and hospitality industry, this industry's layoffs are already a matter of public knowledge and are only expected to intensify over the coming months. 

3. Employment services. 

2.5% of Americans work in the employment services industry, which houses about 3,624,000 jobs. With nearly every sector cutting their budgets and recruitment efforts, people in employment services — from recruiters to HR software managers — may face layoffs. 

4. Transportation. 

The transportation industry contains about 3,381,000 American jobs or 2.3% of jobs in 2019. Airlines are one segment of the transportation industry already facing major cuts, however other transportation segments — like the automotive industry — may also be impacted by economic downturn. 

5. Mining, oil and gas.

Mining, oil and gas account for about 686,000 jobs in the United States, about .5% of all jobs in 2019. The sector is expected by Moody's to lose jobs, negatively affecting large parts of the American South and West. 
Based on March unemployment filings, we're able to add a few other industries to our "high-risk" list. Along with the industries above, these industries have already shed tens of thousands of employees. With the extension of social distancing, they are expected to shrink their payrolls even further.  

6. Retail trade. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people in the retail trade industry lost 46,200 jobs in March. With storefronts closed, this number will likely grow. 

7. Construction.

The construction industry has shed 29,000 employees since March 1 and will likely continue to cut payrolls due to closed construction sites and lost projects. 

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