Editor's note: Below you'll find the week 115 release of the NYC Recovery Index, originally published November 15, 2022. Visit the NYC Recovery index homepage for the latest data.
New York City’s economic recovery saw little progress for the week ending November 5, 2022, with the index score remaining unchanged at 76 out of 100. COVID-19 hospitalizations rose steeply, in a worrying development for the city’s health outlook. Unemployment claims declined for the week, remaining in line with their 2019 rolling average. Citywide home sales are back above pre-pandemic levels, following a major dip last week. Rental availability witnessed a massive gain this week, rising to its highest levels since August of 2021, and just short of its pre-pandemic baseline. On the downside, subway ridership backtracked, while restaurant reservations experienced a large correction.
New York City’s economic recovery stands at a score of 76 out of 100, according to the New York City Recovery Index, a joint project between Investopedia and NY1. Over two and a half years into the pandemic, New York City’s economic recovery is just over three-quarters of the way back to pre-pandemic levels.
COVID-19 Hospitalizations Back on the Rise
After briefly stabilizing last week, COVID-19 hospitalizations surged again this week. An average of 139 people were hospitalized daily, up 28 from the previous week and marking the highest level of hospitalizations since late July. This week’s significant increase is a worrying setback for the city’s ongoing health recovery, as the outlook for hospitalizations continues to worsen.
Current hospitalization levels are over 300% above their average for the same week of 2021. Intensive care unit (ICU) admissions are also 10.8% higher year-over-year. These statistics indicate that the city’s health recovery has deteriorated relative to the same calendar period last year. November has typically been an unfavorable month for the city’s health recovery, as cases and hospitalizations rose steeply in November of 2020 and 2021. It has yet to be seen whether this will be the case in 2022.
The CDC continues to project that 100% of current cases are attributable to the omicron variant. The BQ.1 subvariant has now become the dominant strain, accounting for 31.4% of current cases. The BQ.1.1 subvariant now accounts for a 28.5% share, while the once-dominant BA.5 variant has diminished in recent weeks, and now accounts for just under 20% of infections.
The share of fully vaccinated New York City residents remained stable at 79.9% this week, as reported by NYC Health & Hospitals. Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 2.98 million cases and just under 43,000 COVID-19-related deaths have been recorded in the city.
Unemployment Claims Fall
The number of unemployment insurance (UI) claims filed throughout the city fell by 50 in the week ended November 5, from 5,600 to 5,550. By comparison, the 2019 rolling average of claims, which tracks the equivalent pre-pandemic week, increased by 147 claims, totaling 5,280. As such, the current number of UI claims is only 5% above the 2019 rolling average for this time of year, with the index measure effectively remaining fully recovered.
Home Sales Stabilize
Home sales were 4.9% above their 2019 rolling average for the week ending November 5. As such, the index measure is once again considered fully recovered, after home sales dipped below their pre-pandemic baseline last week. However, sales remain considerably below their summer levels, as rising mortgage rates have likely cooled New York City’s housing market in recent months. By borough, home sales in Brooklyn have now overtaken those of Manhattan and Queens, and were recently 12% above their 2019 rolling average. Manhattan home sales were just 5.2% above their pre-pandemic baseline, while sales in Queens were nearly 10% below pre-pandemic levels.
Rental Availability Surges
There were 16,922 available vacancies on the city’s real estate market—890 more than in the previous week. This marks the best result for rental availability since August of 2021, with the rental inventory subindex score rising to 96 out of 100. As such, rental availability levels are just 4% below their pre-pandemic average for this time of year. This week’s large increase was unexpected when accounting for seasonal trends, as vacancies typically decline during this time of year. If the positive momentum for the city’s rental market continues in the upcoming weeks, the index measure could be considered fully recovered.
Subway Ridership Backtracks
MTA subway ridership declined slightly for the week ending November 5, with the seven-day average of riderships dipping to 34.2% below its pre-pandemic baseline, down from 33.7% below last week. This marks the first decline in ridership in five weeks, following four consecutive weeks of gains. The MTA reported 3.22 million daily riderships for the week, on average. It will be notable to see what effect, if any, colder weather could have on subway ridership as winter approaches.
Restaurant Reservations Decline Steeply
Restaurant reservations witnessed a massive correction for the week ending November 5, with the trailing seven-day average of reservations plunging to 36.7% below pre-pandemic levels, from 31% down last week. This week’s decline wiped out three consecutive weeks of gains, with reservations returning to the levels of early October. A closer look at the daily data reveals a weaker-than-expected Halloween for the city’s restaurant industry, indicating that reservations could rebound in time for next week’s report.