BENTONVILLE, Ark., March 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today Heartland Forward released new analysis on the potential economic effects of coronavirus in the Heartland and beyond, «Coronavirus Regional Economic Impacts and Policy Responses.» The analysis suggests that while the Heartland has serious exposure to economic fallout from the coronavirus, its exposure is less than that of coastal regions. The analysis estimates that Heartland real GDP will fall at an annual rate of around 5 percent in the second quarter, compared to a decline of 10 percent for the rest of the country.

«The coronavirus is upending normal life across the nation, and as a result we are collectively facing serious economic challenges,» said Ross DeVol, Heartland Forward President and CEO. «While factors like lower population density may mitigate coronavirus’ impacts on the Heartland, many Heartland cities are still at risk. In addition to federal policy responses already in motion, it is essential for Heartland policymakers to increase attention and support for entrepreneurs—critical drivers of job growth and economic recovery.»

Heartland Forward’s analysis focused on several factors: infection rates, acknowledging limitations due to testing kit shortages; demographics, specifically the elderly population and overall population density; and supply chain impacts on industry. While the analysis found the Heartland as a whole is likely to experience fewer cases of the virus and thus less severe economic fallout, it also analyzed vulnerabilities, including cities reliant on industries such as aerospace parts manufacturing (Wichita, KS), the airline industry (Dallas-Forth Worth, TX), and tourism (GulfportBiloxiPascagoula, MS).

As the Heartland pursues economic recovery efforts in the coming months, an important focus must be on the region’s entrepreneurs and facilitating the growth of young firms. Emphasis on entrepreneurship is critical to job creation, as an upcoming research report from Heartland Forward will detail further.

Additionally, Heartland Forward is conducting ongoing analysis of the coronavirus’ impacts by tracking unemployment insurance claims in each state every week. See the most up-to-date analysis here.

About Heartland Forward:

Heartland Forward’s mission is to improve economic performance in the center of the United States by advocating for fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth, and improved health outcomes. We conduct independent, data-driven research to facilitate action-oriented discussion and impactful policy recommendations.

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SOURCE Heartland Forward