The New York City Recovery Index: November 28

Tracking NYC's economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic

New York City skyline looking south towards Lower Manhattan at sunset.
Getty / Amanda Hall / robertharding

Note: Investopedia did not publish an update to the New York City Recovery Index last week, which would have tracked the city’s recovery for the week ending November 12. The weekly changes reported below are relative to the week ending November 12, as opposed to the week ending November 5 (the focus of the previous article in this series).

New York City’s economic recovery backtracked slightly for the week ending November 19, 2022, with the index score declining one point to 77 out of 100. On a positive note, COVID-19 hospitalizations declined, while citywide home sales are back in line with pre-pandemic levels. On the downside, unemployment claims rose for the week, while rental vacancies, subway ridership, and restaurant reservations declined.

New York City’s economic recovery stands at a score of 77 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 Fall

The COVID-19 hospitalization rate in New York City declined for the second consecutive week, falling to 125 hospitalizations per day. This compares to 130 per day in the previous week, and 139 per day for the week ending November 5. COVID-19 hospitalizations remain elevated, and are significantly above a recent low of 73 per day recorded in September.

The CDC continues to project that 100% of current cases are omicron-related, with the BQ.1 strain accounting for the highest share of infections, at 36.6% of the total. The BQ.1.1 strain follows with a 34.2% share. Meanwhile, the BA.5 subvariant continues to recede and now accounts for just 10.4% of current cases.

As of November 28, just under 80% of New York City residents were fully vaccinated against COVID-19—a share that is unchanged over the past three weeks, according to NYC Health & Hospitals data. Since the start of the pandemic, over three million cases—confirmed and probable, and over 43,200 COVID-19-related deaths have been recorded in New York City.

Unemployment Claims Increase

The number of unemployment insurance (UI) claims filed in New York City rose by 530 claims this week, totaling 5,800. Meanwhile, the 2019 rolling average of claims, which tracks the calendar-equivalent pre-pandemic week, increased by only 144 claims to total 5,477. As such, the current number of claims is roughly 6% above its pre-pandemic rolling average. While UI claims now exceed their 2019 rolling average, they remain within a tight range and can still be considered fully recovered.

Home Sales Rise Modestly

Citywide home sales rose slightly for the week ending November 19. At 423 homes sold for the week, the current number is identical to the pre-pandemic rolling average, tracking the same week of 2019. Home sales are back to a full recovery after lagging slightly behind pre-pandemic levels last week. Broken down by borough, home sales in Manhattan and Queens were 7.9% and 6.5% above their pre-pandemic baselines, respectively. On the other hand, home sales in Brooklyn are now 13.5% below their pre-pandemic baseline.

Rental Availability Declines

There were 16,919 available vacancies in New York City’s rental market this week, marking a decline of 109 units from the previous week. In effect, the rental inventory subindex score declined by a percentage point, to 95 out of 100. Current inventory levels are roughly in line with the pre-pandemic average for this time of year, when New York City’s rental market typically has 17,000 vacancies available for a given week. As such, the index measure can be considered fully recovered.

Subway Ridership Dips Slightly

Subway ridership recorded a slight dip for the week ended November 19, with ridership falling to 34.8% below its pre-pandemic rolling average, from 34.5% down in the previous week. As such, the subway mobility subindex score fell to 65 out of 100. For the week, the MTA reported 3.19 million average daily riderships. This marks the second straight week of minor declines, in line with seasonality trends for this time of year. The MTA subway is still missing over a third of its riders from before the pandemic.

Restaurant Reservations Inch Lower

Reservations at New York City restaurants dipped slightly for the week ending November 19, following a large correction during the previous week. The seven-day average of reservations dipped to 31.4% below pre-pandemic levels, from 31% down in the previous week. As such, the reservations subindex score edged down to 68.5 points out of 100. Next week, we will receive data on whether the Thanksgiving holiday had any meaningful impact on restaurant reservations citywide.

Exactly one year ago, restaurant reservations were 34.75% below their pre-pandemic baseline, on average. Two years ago, in November of 2020, reservation levels were 77.33%, on average, below their pre-pandemic baseline. While progress has slowed markedly in attracting diners back to the city’s restaurants, the industry is in a better position now than at any time since the onset of the pandemic.

Research and analysis by
Adrian Nesta
Adrian Nesta, Research Analyst on the Data Journalism team at Dotdash
Adrian Nesta is a Research Analyst on the Data Journalism team at Dotdash, the digital publisher that owns and operates Investopedia. His work includes data collection, cleaning, analysis, and visualization for stories in the data journalism portfolio across every vertical at Dotdash.
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