Businesses Operating in These Cities Are at High Risk During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything the modern world has seen. What many experts believe to be a zoonotic disease primarily found in animals like bats and pangolins managed to make the jump to a human host. From there, the contagious disease has spread like wildfire, causing a global health crisis affecting countries and cities differently.

Nearly every economy in the world has felt the impact of coronavirus. In the US, millions of Americans have applied for unemployment benefits in just a few short weeks, making it the worst time for commerce since the Great Depression. Essential services are still running, but small and medium-sized businesses like local marketing staffing agency have suffered the most.

The Most At-Risk Cities for Businesses During COVID-19

The pandemic has damaged nearly every business and industry in the United States. No town or city is safe from its threat. With many businesses now temporarily closed, the impact is felt more in some cities than others. According to a report published by Brookings Institute, certain industries may be at more risk than others, including leisure/hospitality, travel arrangements, transportation, and oil and gas/mining. the following cities face the highest threat of businesses shutting down and an ensuing loss of employment:

  1. Midland, Texas
  2. Kahului, Hawaii
  3. Atlantic City, New Jersey
  4. Las Vegas, Nevada
  5. Odessa, Texas

Read on to find out more.

Midland, Texas

Midland, Texas has one of the largest oil and gas industries in the country. Designated a high-risk industry that is likely to be affected by COVID-19, more than 42.5% of the Midland workforce works in oil and gas. If the recession hits the industry as predicted, nearly half of the employees in the Midland area will become unemployed.

Kahului, Hawai

Kahului, Hawaii has nearly 40.2% of its total workforce employed in the travel, leisure, and hospitality industry. This is one of the industries worst affected by the pandemic, since international and non-essential travel, including leisure travel,  is at one of its lowest points. Many small and medium local businesses in the city depend on tourism and the revenue it generates. Kahului stands to see slightly less than half its workforce lose employment if the situation does not improve.

Atlantic City, New Jersey

The leisure industry makes up a defining part of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Nearly 34.2% of the total workforce in the city is directly or indirectly employed in the legal gambling industry. However, with leisure activities deemed a high contagion risk, the city may now be at risk of seeing a massive increase in unemployment.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Like Atlantic City, Las Vegas is the gambling and leisure capital of Nevada. The city has a near-mythical image across the world, a place where fortunes are won and lost every day. Unfortunately, also like Atlantic City, Las Vegas’s biggest industry is also a high-risk industry. With nearly 33% of the workforce employed in it, businesses in Las Vegas could see a catastrophic impact in the times ahead.

Odessa, Texas

Odessa is a major energy producer in Texas and is among the most at-risk cities in the state for businesses. Roughly 33% of the Odessa workforce is employed in the energy industry as of 2019. Since the industry is at one of the highest-risk levels of seeing a COVID-19 generated impact, a third of Odessa’s workforce could be out of jobs in the coming weeks.


The research published by Brookings Institue offers a grim look at the times we can expect ahead. With unemployment rates already at record highs, many more small and medium businesses are at the cusp of closing down. This will add further burden on an already strained social welfare system where millions have already applied for unemployment benefits. Self-employed and gig-workers such as temps working for telecom staffing agencies also stand to see a decline in earnings as regular opportunities dry up.

In such a time, it more important than ever for small and medium businesses to educate themselves about the expected financial and economic impact of COVID-19. There is no denying that we are in a very grave situation. However, understanding the worst affected cities and industries can help small and medium businesses if they can gain insights into the support they can get.