Editor's note: Below you'll find the week 96 release of the NYC Recovery Index, originally published July 5, 2022. Visit the NYC Recovery index homepage for the latest data.
New York City’s economic recovery stalled during the week ending June 25, 2022, as the index score remained unchanged at a score of 74 out of 100. While weekly unemployment insurance (UI) claims stabilized and restaurant reservations increased, COVID-19 hospitalizations continued to rise, and home sales recorded a major week-over-week decline. Subway ridership also declined from a recent high recorded last week.
Late last week, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the nation’s first “Test to Treat” program in New York City. The program is designed to provide instant access to prescriptions for antiviral medications free of charge for eligible New Yorkers who have recently tested positive for COVID-19. The “Test to Treat” program is being launched in conjunction with the NYC Test & Trace Corps, NYC Health & Hospitals, and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, with New York becoming the first major city in the country to implement such a program.
New York City’s economic 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. Over two years into the pandemic, New York City’s economic recovery is just under three-quarters of the way back to pre-pandemic levels.
COVID-19 Hospitalizations Rise Again
The COVID-19 hospitalization rate in New York City rose for the third consecutive week to an average of 104 hospitalized people per day. This week’s figure marks the highest since the first omicron wave, surpassing the previous high of 98 set for the week ending May 28. The current figure is now nearly six times higher than the trough of 18 hospitalizations recorded on March 12. While hospitalizations have increased, it’s worth noting that the rate of increase is lower than that witnessed during prior waves of the pandemic.
Hospital admissions for patients infected with COVID-19 have increased 477% relative to the low point for hospitalizations recorded on March 12, after the first omicron wave. Meanwhile, the number of patients in intensive care units (ICUs) and requiring intubation have increased at less pronounced rates—91.6% and 94.6%, respectively, relative to the low point of early March. Despite the near-doubling in ICU arrivals and intubations, the rate of increase has not been as pronounced as that of general COVID-19 hospitalizations.
The CDC continues to project that all new cases recorded in the New York region are attributable to the omicron variant. As of early July, a new strain labeled BA.5 has overtaken the BA.2.12.1 strain, accounting for 46.2% of new infections compared to 38% for the latter. Region 2 of the Department of Health and Human Services, which encompasses New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands has the third-lowest concentration of the BA.5 strain among all census regions tracked by the agency.
The share of fully vaccinated New York City residents continues to tick higher, with 78.9% of all city residents fully inoculated against COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic over two years ago, over 2.6 million cases and 40,783 deaths have been recorded in New York City, according to NYC Health and Hospitals Data.
Unemployment Claims Decline
The number of unemployment insurance (UI) claims in New York City fell during the week ending June 25, with 430 fewer claims recorded compared to last week. Total claims declined from 5,600 to 5,170, compared to 5,627 claims recorded for the same week of 2019. With this week’s decline, claims are once again below the 2019 rolling average of claims over the same period pre-pandemic. Claims are currently 8% below the pre-pandemic rolling average, and considered fully recovered.
New Home Sales Plunge
New citywide home sales witnessed a major decline for the week ending June 25, with weekly sales falling by a record 107 sales. Total home sales for the week, at 466 units sold, are now just 3.6% higher than the pre-pandemic rolling average, after typically exceeding it by double digits over recent months. The sharp slowdown in New York City’s housing market this week may be a reflection of the cooling national housing market, as rising mortgage rates and the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy tightening begin to weigh on homebuying demand.
Rental Availability Decreases Slightly
There were 14,479 rental vacancies available in New York City during the week ending June 25, 51 fewer than in the previous week. This week’s decline is a minor one, leaving the rental availability subindex relatively unchanged at 77 out of 100 points. The city’s rental market remains about 2,000 units short of the pre-pandemic norm for this time of year.
Subway Ridership Backtracks
Subway ridership levels experienced setbacks during the week ended June 25, with ridership falling to 39.7% below the pre-pandemic norm, compared to the previous week’s figure of 37.3% below 2019 levels. This week’s losses more than offset the previous week’s gains. Subway ridership remains only marginally higher than they were in November 2021. For the week, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) reported a trailing seven-day average of 2.84 million daily riders.
Restaurant Reservations Recover Losses
Restaurant reservations increased this week, bringing reservations to 34.2% below the pre-pandemic baseline, compared to 35.7% last week. Reservations had a notable increase throughout the month of June, with reservations rising over 10 percentage points between the start of June and the week of June 25. New York City’s restaurant industry is still missing just over a third of its diners from the pre-pandemic era.