Report: Memphis Job Loss Could Top 121,000


  • Brookings Institute

The Memphis metro area could lose around 20 percent of all jobs due to the coronavirus, according to a new report from the Brookings Institute.

The report analyzed metros from across the country, predicting which ones would be hardest hit by the pandemic. Not all areas will be hit the same, according to the think tank. Those with concentrated energy sectors like mining, oil, and gas will likely be hardest hit. Hit hard, too, will be metros with concentrations of transportation, employment services, travel arrangements, and tourism (like Memphis).

“Add the numbers up and the gargantuan scale of the current problem emerges,” reads the report. “More than 24.2 million Americans work in the five high-risk sectors facing a sharp slowdown. This will likely prompt significant work disruptions, furloughs, and other uncertainties in the coming months.”

Oil-sector cities like Midland, Texas (No. 1) and Houma-Thibadoux, Louisiana (No. 8) dominate the top 10 slots on the Brooking’s rankings. Midland, for example, is set to lose nearly 46,618 jobs, or nearly 43 percent of all its jobs.

Tourism-heavy cities like Kahului, Hawaii (No. 2) and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (No. 9) round out the top 10. Kahului could lose 32,092 jobs, or nearly 40 percent of its jobs.

Memphis ranks 48th on the Brookings list, which is based on percentage of jobs lost, not on total number. Here, the city could lose 121,065 jobs, or about 19.6 percent of all jobs in the Memphis metro area, which includes portions of Mississippi and Arkansas.

There’s no doubt tourism is one of the city’s major economic centers. Memphis Tourism, the area’s official destination marketing organization, reported last year (the latest figures) that a record number of tourists (11.8 million) visited Memphis in 2018.

Those visitors brought with them a $3.5 billion economic impact in Memphis that year. That activity generated $1.13 billion in annual wages in Shelby County in 2018. There’s little doubt that all of those figures will be lower when 2020 numbers are reported next year.

However, Kevin Kane, Memphis Tourism president and CEO, said the city is still open to visitors on Tourism’s coronavirus information webpage.

“Some attractions have made the difficult decision to close while others remain open with reduced capacity to space out guests and prevent visitors from clustering in large groups along with deploying the appropriate sanitation protocol,” Kane wrote on the site. “Travelers are welcome should they decide to visit Memphis today, tomorrow, or in the future.”

Read the Brookings data for yourself here:

See related PDF 20200318_BrookingsMetro_Coronavirus_ImpactedMetros_Appendix.pdf

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.

Add a comment