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What do you do when your business disappears overnight?

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Good morning.

What do you do when your business disappears overnight? That’s what happened to Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian in April, when the pandemic cut the hotel company’s global business by 94%. “A shocking loss of demand,” he said.  “We had never been in anything quite like it.”

Hoplamazian was my guest this week on the podcast Leadership Next (Apple/Spotify). I was eager to talk with him because he’s always struck me as a leader with a strong focus on Hyatt’s corporate purpose, which is rooted in empathy—caring for employees so in turn they care for hotel guests. How do you care for employees when you no longer have the means to do so?

“There is no question that this has been the most difficult and most challenging period of time I’ve ever experienced, as a person,” he said. “The business was unrecognizable. The steps we had to take to manage through it were very painful. There was a very human impact that was devastating.”

Yet Hoplamazian said he has “been so incredibly humbled by the outpouring of appreciation and care that I’ve felt from those who are being impacted…It was incredible testimony to the deep humanity that exists within this company.” He hopes increased empathy may be a broader legacy of the crisis. “Now when people ask ‘How are you doing,’ they really mean it. That sense of care and real focus and attention is extraordinarily powerful, and I hope that stays with us forever.”

Hoplamazian is confident that travel will eventually return to pre-pandemic levels… and beyond. “Long term, I am 100% sure that we are going to see a massive resurgence in travel, because there is this incredible impulse to want to connect and be with people, on a personal level and on a business level. Once we have a vaccine, I think we are going to see a resurgence of demand the likes of which we haven’t seen before.”

More news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

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One pandemic, two recoveries: New Yorkers are three times more likely to be jobless than Nebraskans

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It’s going to take a long time to get out of this economic mess, but we’re making progress: Since the end of April, the economy has added more than 10 million jobs and the unemployment rate has fallen from its peak of 14.7% to 8.4%.

But that national recovery is unequal. Employment in some states is back to pre-pandemic levels, while others are at mass joblessness levels surpassing the 2007-09 Great Recession.

When the pandemic hit, the jobless rate in Nebraska soared from 4% in March to 8.7% in April. But the state’s nearly fully reopened economy has helped push the jobless rate back to 4% as of August.

The picture in New York, the epicenter of the pandemic in the spring, is far less rosy. It saw its jobless rate climb from 4.1% in March to a staggering 15.3% by April. It has since improved to 12.5% in August—a figure that is still above the U.S. peak of 8.9% jobless rate during the Great Recession era.

How can a New Yorker be three times more likely to be jobless than a Nebraskan?

States like Nebraska that are more rural and haven’t been as hard hit by the pandemic have almost fully reopened. Earlier this month Nebraska allowed outdoor gatherings to reopen at 100%, including sports stadiums and fairgrounds. And places like bars and tattoo parlors were reopened weeks ago.

Northeast states like New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut were hit hard by the virus in the spring and are reopening businesses at much slower rates. Case in point: Indoor dinning in New York City doesn’t start back until September 30, and that’s only at 25% capacity. That cautious approach explains why New York’s jobless rate remains so high.

While New York leads the nation at 33,092 lives lost to the pandemic, its case load and deaths are plummeting, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Only .9% of COVID-19 tests in New York are coming back positive compared to over 50% at one point in April. Nebraska has far fewer COVID-19 deaths (452), however, its positive rate is 12.6%—which is above the 10% threshold that adds incoming travelers to New York’s 14-day quarantine.

And joblessness in New York is also elevated by its large leisure and hospitality concentration. That sector was smashed by the pandemic, and has yet to rebound. Leisure and hospitality jobs in New York City alone are still down 48%. And that’s also why joblessness is still so high in tourism heavy California (11.4%), Hawaii (12.5%), and Nevada (13.2%).

While Florida also has a massive tourism industry, its jobless rate is only 7.4% in August which can be chalked up to a more aggressive reopening plan than states like Nevada or New York.

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