Cities, states and sectors – what’s weathering the storm in the USA?


Nicola Meikle, Careers Information Adviser, writes:

Following our recent blog series about the COVID-19 impact on industry sectors in the UK, we’ve broadened these insights to provide context for future planning in the USA. As before we’ve split the industry categories into “adversely impacted”, “weathering” and “responding”.

Adversely impacted

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics April 2020 report shows a decline in every sector of the US economy; however “more than three-quarters of those without jobs described themselves as temporary laid off, a sign that many of those currently without work are hopeful that the economy will be able to rebound” (BBC News).

Some states have been impacted harder than others. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides analysis of the ten states which have been hit the hardest. Businesses which rely on travel and/or human interaction as part of their service provision are especially adversely impacted. Leisure and hospitality (bars and restaurants), performing arts and spectator sports, accommodations and motion pictures and sound recording revealed a reduction of more than 40% in employment (U.S. Chamber of Commerce).

It’s projected there will be an economic rebound in 2021 but this will very much depend on social distancing measures being lifted, and this  may happen at different rates across states (IBIS World US COVID-19 Economic Update 28 April 2020).


LinkedIn refers to weathering industries as those that, “…have faced challenges but have managed through some of the changes. These industries have seen a smaller drop in hiring and, on the whole, have been more able to transition their workforces into remote roles”.

According to the May edition of the LinkedIn Workplace Report, which provides a monthly outline of employment trends on the US workforce, the most resilient cities include Austin,  and Boston,– cities which are dominated, respectively, by technology and biotechnology –sectors which are weathering COVID-19 better than others.

As stated by the Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll  20% of businesses with fewer than 500 employees have switched at least some of their employees to remote working, whilst 17% have shifted their retail presence to digital or virtual means. The reality of remote working applies to vacancies too and recent data from LinkedIn’s Economic Graph team shows a 28% increase in remote work job postings in March 2020 by US companies of all sizes. The top three advertised remote working roles are software engineer, development operations (DevOps) engineer and full stack engineer.

Marketing is another sector which offers the capability of remote working. Vault has compiled a list of the most popular remote jobs in this field, headed up by Internet marketing specialist and social media manager.

Responding well

With the shift to a digital world, GoinGlobal reports that advertising, financial services, media and IT software are recruiting as they’re in the rare position of assisting companies and people, “…[to] maintain some semblance of a normal life by offering means of communication, amusement and comfort”.

Manufacturers of exercise equipment, digital delivery services, and game makers/retailers are thriving during COVID-19 with more Americans staying at home. Pharmacies, too, are recruiting in large numbers to cope with demand

Commenting on the technology sector, Stuart Carlaw, chief researcher at ABI Research said, “The market for technology jobs is likely to remain strong in the face of Covid”. For example, Zoom, which offers video conferencing, has had a huge spike in hiring opportunities due to employees working remotely (

To keep up with developments in the USA labour market:

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics collect, analyse and publish economic information to help people with their decision making:
  • Vault has industry overviews and company information for top companies in a range of sectors including law, banking, accounting, consulting and much more. You can access Vault via the Resources tab in MyCareerHub:
  • IBISWorld, a market-research database, is running free webinars on impacted sectors in the USA (based on economic indicators) as well as more niche and global COVID-19 related content:

The Careers Service is here to support you during these uncertain times.  We’re offering all our services online during the Coronavirus outbreak. Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions, including how to get in touch with us, at

See the University’s advice on Health, Safety and Travel here:

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