The COVID-19 Economic Vulnerability Index

The map below displays the COVID-19 Economic Vulnerability Index for all counties and metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the United States. Click here to download the data.

  • Vulnerability Index

What is the COVID-19 Economic Vulnerability Index

The Vulnerability Index is a measurement of the negative impact that the coronavirus crisis can have on employment based upon a region's mix of industries. For example, accommodation and food services are projected to lose more jobs as a result of the coronavirus (in the neighborhood of 50%) compared to utilities and healthcare (with none or little expected job contraction).

An average Vulnerability Index score is 100, representing the average job loss expected in the United States. Higher scores indicate the degree to which job losses may be greater — an index of 200, for example, means the rate of job loss can be twice as large as the national average. Conversely, an index of 50 would mean a possible job loss of half the national average.

The Vulnerability Index only measures the impact potential related to the mix of industry employment. The index does not take into account variation due to a regions' rate of virus infection, nor does it factor in local government's policies in reaction to the virus. For example, a region with a high Vulnerability Index may have little to moderate job losses if the region has only slight infection rates and local government imposes few restrictions. On the other hand, a region with a low Vulnerability Index may still incur large employment losses if the local rate of infection is high or local government restrictions are especially stringent.


The index is based on a model of potential job losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. Expected employment losses at the subsector level are based upon inputs which include primary research on expert testimony; news reports for key industries such as hotels, restaurants, retail, and transportation; preliminary release of unemployment claims; and the latest job postings data from Chmura's RTI database.

The forecast model assumes employment in industries in each county/region would change at a similar rate as employment in national industries. The projection estimates that the United States could lose 15.0 million jobs due to COVID-19, with over half of the jobs lost in hotels, food services, and entertainment industries. Contact Chmura for further details.

The Vulnerability Index projection model was developed by the Chmura economics team led by Dr. Christine Chmura and Dr. Xiaobing Shuai. The model leverages industry employment data as of 2019Q4 provided by JobsEQ. The projections used in the Vulnerability Index model were developed on March 23, 2020; future updates will be posted as changing conditions warrant.

Note that job losses referred to here are expected to be temporary for the length of the crisis. Consequential economic shocks are not incorporated into this model.

While the Vulnerability Index employment model is computed at the 3-digit NAICS level, forecast job losses at the higher 2-digit levels are shown below for reference.

Job Impact of Coronavirus
(sectors with the largest expected job losses at the top; those with smallest projected losses at the bottom)
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation
Accommodation and Food Services
Wholesale Trade
Transportation and Warehousing
Other Services (except Public Administration)
Retail Trade
Health Care and Social Assistance
Educational Services
Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services
Finance and Insurance
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Management of Companies and Enterprises
Public Administration
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

COVID-19 Economic Vulnerability Index Data Download

These data are available for download in Excel format:

Terms of Use

Free to use if data is sourced to: Chmura Economics & Analytics, JobsEQ.

Data used in this analysis and more are available in our platform, JobsEQ. Contact us now to learn more