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This year has shown just how unprepared the world was for a large scale disaster, and the United States is no exception. In fact, while countries across Europe begin to reopen, even allowing travel within some zones, the US is battling a severe second wave of the pandemic as it continues to cause an economic collapse.
However, the health crisis has not affected all parts of the country equally, and some have been feeling the strain of the times much more than others. For rural zones, civil unrest is seen only on TV screens, and the images of overflowing hospitals and rising case count reports seem far away. In fact, life may not feel much different than the same time last year.
But in urban areas, the protests seem virtually endless, and streets that once held countless commuter cars are now packed with angry mobs. Meanwhile, the case counts in these tightly packed areas are surging, and the few glimpses of normalcy that locals caught in June have quickly disappeared under rolled back reopening plans. For city dwellers, life today looks nothing like it did in 2019. And, unfortunately, these conditions will likely only continue to get worse.
In this video, we’re going to discuss how the health crisis has taken a disproportionate toll across the United States, hitting urban centers much harder than rural areas. We’ll tell you what that means for many of our major cities, and how some may never fully recover. We are also going to give you the larger picture of where the country is heade
As for those in less populated spaces, they must be feeling a much greater sense of stability. After all, the skyrocketing unemployment rate nationwide is felt most acutely in urban environments, where office workers have been forced to stay home. The country’s retail, restaurant, and accommodation hotspots are all located in major cities, and these are the industries that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, generating the most lost jobs.
In the last 18 weeks, over 52 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits. Yet the official unemployment rate in many rural counties has not even hit double digits. While this statistic seems hard to comprehend, especially given that others’ situations are so much more dire, the data tells a story of deep inequality of the pandemic’s effect on rural versus urban communities.
As rural areas hunker down through the pandemic with relatively few changes to normal like, cities have taken an almost apocalyptic turn. New York City was one of the first epicenters of the health crisis, and more recently, the US watched in horror as stores were burning and protests were growing increasingly extreme. As a result of the heightened tension and chaos, New York state’s unemployment rate is almost double the national average.
As for businesses, they have been deeply wounded by the loss of profits that comes from millions and millions of Americans opting to stay largely at home even once lockdown measures are lifted. This will only further exacerbate the spike in joblessness.
The leisure and hospitality industries have been absolutely devastated, experiencing unemployment rates that skyrocketed from 5.7 percent in February to nearly 40 percent in April. The numbers dropped again in June, but hovered around a still catastrophic 28.9 percent. No other sector comes close to this level of disruption in the workforce.
This year alone, thousands and thousands of smaller, independent restaurants have been forced to shut their doors for good. A recent study by Yelp found that a staggering 60 percent of restaurants that previously claimed to be “temporarily closed” on their websites are now listed as permanently closed.
These apocalyptic waves of business closures will disrupt major cities for months and possibly even years to come. Some may never return to what they were at the beginning of this year. In entertainment and leisure hotspots, matters are getting desperate. Las Vegas, for example, saw its official unemployment rate hit 29 percent, which is above Great Depression levels. Even after the health crisis is brought under control, tourism will be slow to come back to pre-pandemic levels.
Ultimately, the US dollar will keep losing value as debt levels climb ever higher thanks to further stimulus packages. The economic suffering we are already seeing in cities across the country will continue to intensify, and a coming election won’t necessarily change things for the better.
Experts have been warning for a while now that this economic downturn will make the last recession of 2007-2009 seem almost laughable, and we are certainly on track for that to be true.”