As a natural experiment for demand shocks, we estimate the effect on local unemployment of 14 french air force base closures occurring between 2003 and 2014. We use common factor panel and synthetic control methods to construct a credible « counterfactual » for each employment zone which experienced a closure. By analyzing quarterly local unemployment data, we show that air base closure increase local unemployment. Common factor panel shows that air base closure lead to a rise in local unemployment in quarters following the shock. Synthetic control method reveals heterogeneity in local economy’s resilience. Our quantitative analysis shows that the heterogeneous human capital stock is the most relevant explanation for the observed heterogeneity in resilience.