Northeast Ohio’s High-risk Industries and the Scale of Potential Disruption

Apr 13, 2020 | Research

Northeast Ohio’s High-risk Industries and the Scale of Potential Disruption

To help understand the potential scale of the COVID-19 crisis on communities in Northeast Ohio, we analyzed the number of people working in the industries most at risk for layoffs according to where they live. This analysis does not suppose that all workers in high- and moderate-risk industries will lose their jobs, nor that all businesses in these industries will fail. Instead, it gives a broad view of the scale and distribution of the possible worker displacement if the economy takes a while to rebound (which, it almost certainly will).

Half of the Northeast Ohio workforce is employed in industries that are considered to be either high-risk (e.g., hospitality, arts and entertainment, retail) or moderate-risk (e.g., construction, manufacturing, wholesale). The hospitality industry alone accounts for nearly 200,000 workers, or 9.4% of the workforce, across the region.

Cuyahoga, Summit and Stark counties have the largest number of residents working in high-risk industries (Figure 1). Huron, Tuscarawas, Erie, and Columbiana counties are those with the biggest shares of their workforce in high- and moderate-risk industries (57% or more of the total workforce 16 years and older).

On a more local level, we found that the ZIP codes with the largest number of workers in high-risk industries are located in Medina, Elyria, Lakewood, Mentor, and Kent.

Drilling down further on data for Cuyahoga County, Figure 2 highlights the scale of workers by ZIP code in high-risk industries, relative to unemployment claims for March. While claims will continue to increase, the difference underscores the potential scale of disruption and that there may still be a long way to go in terms of layoffs and furloughs. Note, initial claims for unemployment insurance in March are believed to far undercount the true number of people seeking unemployment support.