The New York City Recovery Index: July 12

Tracking NYC's economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic

Editor's note: Below you'll find the week 47 release of the NYC Recovery Index, originally published July 16, 2021. Visit the NYC Recovery index homepage for the latest data.

New York City’s economic recovery made some progress as of July 3, though not enough to raise its overall score, which settled at 74. A sustained lull in the home sales market held the index back, as every other measure in the index improved, with some reaching the best scores since the onset of the pandemic. This is the eighth week the index has surpassed a score of 70, and the eleventh straight week above 60. 

Following the state’s decision to lift COVID-19 restrictions on June 15, subway ridership and restaurant reservations continue to rise, in a promising sign that the summer will bring the city closer to a full recovery.

New York City’s recovery stands at a score of 74 out of 100, according to the New York City Recovery Index, a joint project between Investopedia and NY1. The index was unchanged from the week prior, and fell two points since the week of June 19. Over a year into the pandemic, NYC’s economic recovery is now roughly three-quarters of the way back to early March 2020 levels.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Plateau

COVID-19 hospitalization rates hardly budged as of July 3, posting a rolling seven-day average of 22 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, the same as the week before and two higher than the average two weeks prior. The city’s seven-day average hasn’t been this low since March of 2020. NYC has recorded a total of 960,579 cases and 33,471 deaths, as of July 16.

As of July 15, New York State fully vaccinated approximately 55.95% of its broader population and 64.9% of the currently eligible population (all ages 12 and older). In a national ranking of state vaccination efforts, New York State came in 16 out of 50 states, districts, and territories, according to VeryWell Health.

Unemployment Claims Fall

The estimated UI claims rate in New York City declined slightly this week, now 84% above 2019 levels. It was one of the best weeks since the onset of the pandemic, and the eighth straight week UI claims stayed under 100% above 2019 levels.

Looking back at the past month, however, UI claims stagnated at a four-week average of 81.5% above 2019 levels, still considerably higher than pre-pandemic norms despite restrictions being lifted and hospitalizations on the decline.

Home Sales Slow

New York City’s home buying market is running over 40% above pre-pandemic levels—the only measure in the index that has fully recovered—but it still represents a slight setback from highs earlier this spring. The current level is more in line with the home sales back in January of 2021, at 38% above 2019 figures. Manhattan is up 125% above 2019 levels, followed by Queens at 105% and Brooklyn at 59%, with all three posting weekly increases of at least 23%.

Rental Vacancies Charge Ahead

New York City’s rental market index advanced several points this week as renters snapped up 1240 vacancies, pushing its score up just over five points. This was the 12th straight week of improvement, raising the score from 56.4 in April to 86.04 in July. 

The summer season usually brings higher turnover as more leases end during the peak rental season between May and August. If current trends hold, the rental market could make a full recovery by the end of the summer. 

Subway Ridership Ramps Up

Subway ridership made sizable progress as of July 3, with the seven-day rolling average at 50% below pre-pandemic ridership, at least half of the way back to recovery. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) estimated a trailing seven-day average of over 2.09 million riders on public transport, pushing the index’s subway score up by two points. 

Restaurant Reservations Surge

Restaurant reservations climbed into July, finally breaching the halfway point to recovery as of July 3, with OpenTable estimating the trailing seven-day average of seated diners in New York City now at 45% lower than the same period in 2019. This was the fourth straight week of improvement for the restaurant industry after several weeks of slow gains. 

With remaining COVID-19 restrictions on dining lifted across NYC, and the city welcoming tourists back this summer after announcing a $30 million tourism campaign in June, reservations are expected to continue to rise over the next few weeks.

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  1. NYC Health. "Total Data."

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