Editor's note: Below you'll find the week 45 release of the NYC Recovery Index, originally published June 21, 2021. Visit the NYC Recovery index homepage for the latest data.
New York City’s economic recovery had a good week as of June 12, climbing three points to settle at a score of 77, the best overall score the city has had since the onset of the pandemic. This is the fifth week the index has surpassed 70, and the eighth straight week above 60. A rebound in New York’s home sales market and restaurant reservations were behind the upward momentum, with other measures like subway usage making steady gains.
This was the first week COVID-19 hospitalizations did not improve, posting a slight increase as of June 12. The index’s underlying data as of June 19th will be available next week, when we expect it to begin reflecting the impacts—particularly to restaurant reservations and subway ridership—of the state’s decision to lift restrictions on June 15, after meeting the country’s COVID-19 vaccination goal of 70% (at least one shot).
New York City’s recovery stands at 77 out of a total score of 100, according to the New York City Recovery Index, a joint project between Investopedia and NY1. The index rose by three points from the prior week. Over a year into the pandemic, NYC’s economic recovery is now roughly two-thirds of the way back to early March 2020 levels.
COVID-19 Hospitalizations Plateau
COVID-19 hospitalizations hardly budged, and even increased slightly to post a rolling seven-day average of 25 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, up from 24 the prior week. The city’s seven-day average hasn’t been this low since last September. NYC has recorded a total of 953,862 cases and 33,378 deaths, as of June 21.
As of June 20, New York State fully vaccinated approximately 52.28% of its broader population and 60.6% of the currently eligible population (all ages 12 and older). In a national ranking of state vaccination efforts, New York State placed 18th out of 59 states, districts, and territories, according to VeryWell Health.
Unemployment Claims Rise
The estimated UI claims rate in New York City rose this week, now 80% above 2019 levels compared with 75% last week. Despite the setback, the week was still one of the best since the onset of the pandemic in March of 2020, and the fifth straight week UI claims stayed under 100% above 2019 levels.
If trends in other areas of the index continue, such as increased subway usage and restaurant reservations, expect UI claims rates to stay below post-pandemic highs, even if they have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Home Sales Boomerang
Pending home sales rebounded from a temporary slump as of June 12, as buyers charged full steam ahead, driving the market to 77% above 2019 levels. The NYC home buying market has been higher than normal year-over-year since last August.
There was an increase of 53 home sales week-over-week, rising from 677 to 730. So far, home sales are the only measure to surpass pre-pandemic performance. Manhattan and Queens outpaced Brooklyn with respect to home sales, up 85% and 47%, respectively, while Brooklyn increased 45% from 2019 levels. Queens saw the largest jump, at 13% year-on-two-years, followed by Brooklyn at 10%, and Manhattan at 4%.
Rental Vacancies Fall
New York City’s rental market was also hot this week, declining as renters snapped up available listings, resulting in a week-on-week difference of 374 units.
Some of the change may be attributed to seasonal turnover, however, as the summer tends to be a hot season for lease turnovers, with a greater influx of temporary residents for seasonal work as well.
Subway Ridership Makes Steady Gains
Subway ridership progressed as of June 12, with the seven-day rolling average advancing by a percentage point. Ridership is now only 54% less than 2019 over the same period. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) estimated a trailing seven-day average of over 2.13 million riders on public transport, pushing the index’s subway score up by almost a point.
Passing the two-million rider threshold marked an important milestone on the way to recovery, with subway ridership well on its way towards 50% below pre-pandemic levels.
Restaurant Reservations Climb
Restaurant reservations saw a welcome change in direction as of June 5, with OpenTable estimating the trailing seven-day average of seated diners in New York City now at just over 52% lower than the same period in 2019, compared to 58% last week. This was the first week of major improvement for the restaurant industry in several weeks.
With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted across NYC and New York State, reservations should see continued growth over the next few months, on their way to recovery.