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The COVID-19 public health crisis has upended the lives of Californians. Millions of people have experienced serious disruptions to their jobs following social distancing public health recommendations and state and local shelter-in-place orders aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. While necessary to prevent overwhelming the state’s health care system, the business reductions and closures forced by these orders will have a severe economic impact on Californians as well as on regional economies.

This Fact Sheet shows that the major industries most immediately impacted by the COVID-19-related economic shutdown – leisure and hospitality, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and other services – employ large numbers of Californians in the state’s largest metropolitan areas.1 Without a sufficient federal response to help workers and their families, the shutdown will have a ripple effect throughout local economies as people who lose work will lose income and be forced to cut back on their spending, thus reducing demand for business more broadly.

1 Although many people employed in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and other services have lost work in recent weeks, there are notable exceptions. For example, within retail trade, grocery stores and pharmacies remain open; within leisure and hospitality, some restaurants have remained in business by providing takeout service instead of in-house service; and within transportation and warehousing, there has been increased demand for jobs supported by online shopping. Due to data limitations for metropolitan areas, it is not possible to present job figures for the industries within these sectors that have been most immediately impacted by the economic shutdown. For these figures at the state level, see The California Industries Hit Hardest by COVID-19 Economic Shutdown: These Industries Employ Millions of Californians.

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