The New York City Recovery Index: November 15

Tracking NYC's economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic

Editor's note: Below you'll find the week 65 release of the NYC Recovery Index, originally published November 16, 2021. Visit the NYC Recovery index homepage for the latest data.

New York City’s economic recovery index recaptured some of its losses the week prior, rising just over two points to a score of 80 as of Nov. 6. It was the fourth week the index breached an overall score of 80. Gains in the city’s rental market and home sales, as well as subway ridership and restaurant reservations helped boost the score. 

This week, New York City’s Planning Commission voted in favor of a zoning amendment that would allow more restaurants to set up outdoor dining structures across the city, though a ban on propane heaters for outdoor dining and COVID-19 vaccination requirements remain in effect throughout the city. Mayor Bill de Blasio and incoming Mayor Eric Adams have both pledged support for the initiative. 

New York City’s recovery stands at a score of 80 out of 100, according to the New York City Recovery Index, a joint project between Investopedia and NY1. Over a year and a half into the pandemic, NYC’s economic recovery is four-fifths of the way back to early March 2020 levels.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Stall

COVID-19 hospitalization rates rose slightly to a rolling seven-day average of 33 hospitalizations per 100,000 people as of Nov. 6, just one more than the week before. And though that rate remains lower than it was at the beginning of the year in January, it’s still roughly 60% higher than hospitalization rates at the end of June, leaving significant room for improvement.

The CDC continues to project that roughly 99.9% of new cases in the New York region (along with New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) are linked to the delta variant. A total of 1,138,333 cases and 34,705 deaths were recorded in New York City as of Nov. 16.

As of Nov. 15, New York State has fully vaccinated approximately 68.29% of its broader population and is on pace to fully vaccinate 70% by late January of next year. In a national ranking of state vaccination efforts, New York State came in 8th out of 50 states, districts, and territories, according to CDC data and analysis by Verywell.

Unemployment Claims Unchanged

The city’s rate of unemployment claims stayed constant at approximately 50% above pre-pandemic levels as of Nov. 6. The measure is not expected to linger at the same rate for long, with a surge in seasonal hiring anticipated on the horizon as the holiday season approaches.

Home Sales Jump

The number of pending home sales in New York City surged by 40 homes as of Nov. 6, raising its score by three points. Sales in the city are over 57% above pre-pandemic levels, with 685 homes pending sales over the week, compared to 434 in 2019. By borough, sales in Manhattan are up 97.2% compared to pre-pandemic levels, while sales figures in Brooklyn are up 34.6%, and Queens is up 16%.

Rental Market Rebounds

The addition of 834 new available residences charged New York City’s rental market as of Nov. 6, lifting the index by seven points to a score of 89. There were a total of 15,489 residences on the market compared to 14,655 the week before. Though its score lingers in the 80s, the rental market continues to be one of the best-performing measures in the index, and has effectively recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Subway Ridership Grows

Subway ridership continued to make incremental progress as of Nov. 6, now near 42% below pre-pandemic levels. However, the measure still has yet to break away from its sustained lull near the 50% mark, where it plateaued over several months. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) estimated a trailing seven-day average of close to 2.8 million riders on public transport.

Restaurant Reservations Rise

After falling nearly five points the week before, the city’s restaurant reservation index regained over two points to settle at 45% below 2019 levels as of Nov. 6, according to OpenTable estimates. So far, colder weather has not resulted in a steep decline in reservations, but the measure has hovered close to the 50% mark for several months, with no sign of diverging from the trend. Heading deeper into the winter season, the cold could hold back diners amid a ban on propane heaters to warm outdoor dining spaces. 

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  1. NYC Health. "Total Data."

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