The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are widespread across the economy and the globe, and may even trigger large downturns in the economy long after the virus is gone. But some industries are especially vulnerable to the medical crisis, costing billions of dollars and millions of jobs. Here are the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus.
Some of the first and most immediate victims of the virus, airlines were forced to cancel flights and downsize routes long before the coronavirus blew up in the United States.
Each new global outbreak signals another destination airlines must cut from service, especially as governments put new travel restrictions in place and close borders to avoid inviting infection.
According to the International Air Transport Association, via USA Today, the global industry could lose up to $113 billion, with $21 billion in American and Canada alone. Airlines are already cutting staff, with Norwegian Airlines laying off 90% of their staff on March 16.
With flights nearly empty and travelers putting travel itineraries on hold, major airlines have been waiving the fees for changing or cancelling flights.
Like air travel, shipping has also felt the brunt of the virus. The International Chamber of Shipping has said the industry is leaking about $350 million per week because of the virus, as ports close to ships and consumers around the globe curtail spending.
With states and local governments closing restaurants and bars across the country, the National Restaurant Association predicts the industry could lose up to $225 billion in the next three months, along with 5-7 million jobs. Many restaurants that plan to close temporarily for the pandemic may never open again.
Another early warning sign of the economic impact, the tech industry has had trouble with supply chains ever since the first outbreak in China. Apple alone could lose $67 billion, while other major manufacturers of smartphones and computers are already feeling the pain too.
After a dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia forced the price of oil to plummet drastically, it’s clear the energy sector is in rough waters. The dispute will impact oil companies big and small in the U.S. and elsewhere. According to Barron’s, the matter won’t be helped by the $120 billion in debt the industry has racked up over the last five years.
The fitness industry was on the rise until recently, swelling to become a $94 billion industry before coronavirus hit. With orders in major cities for gyms to close in order to enforce social distancing, the outlook doesn’t look great for gyms, especially with Planet Fitness stock prices taking a tumble.
The NBA canceled the remainder of its season, forfeiting $350 million-$450 million in ticket sales, but that’s just the beginning. Other leagues, from soccer to baseball, have followed suit, and the postponement of the Summer Olympics to 2021 is a harrowing blow to Tokyo, one that "will come in stages" and the ramifications of which "are immense" according to International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound.