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The US economy has come to a standstill, satellite imagery shows

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American Airlines planes parked in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

American Airlines

The coronavirus crisis is bringing the United States economy to a screeching halt, with every sector feeling the effects of most of the country’s workforce staying home.

Satellite imagery combined with other photographic evidence and alternative data sources give a stark look at the U.S. situation: Airplanes are parked on unused runways, the busiest highways are empty during rush hour times, resorts have become ghost towns, ports are seeing sharp drops in shipping activity and more.

The U.S. now has more coronavirus cases than any other nation in the world, as Johns Hopkins University data shows 104,837 cases in the States.  Transportation, hospitality and other service industries were the first hit as both leisure and business travel is now limited to what is considered essential.

Investors need to turn to alternative sources to gauge the scope of the economic hit because not many official measures have been released yet. This week markets did get one hint at what’s to come from official data. The U.S. Labor Department on Thursday reported that a staggering 3.28 million Americans filed unemployment claims in the previous week. That number shattered the all-time weekly record of 695,000 set in October 1982.

The drop in U.S. consumer and business activity is apparent in satellite imagery collected by companies like Maxar Technologies, Planet Labs, ICEYE and Orbital Insight. Here’s what you can see.



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