The New York City Recovery Index: November 29

Tracking NYC's economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic

Editor's note: Below you'll find the week 67 release of the NYC Recovery Index, originally published November 30, 2021. Visit the NYC Recovery index homepage for the latest data.

New York City’s economic recovery index jumped from a score of 81 to 85 as of Nov. 20, bringing the index back to its highest score since the onset of the pandemic. It was the sixth week the index breached an overall score of 80. A jump in the city’s home sales index led the gains, while most other measures also made progress. However, rising COVID-19 hospitalization rates continued to hold the index back.

Amid rising hospitalization rates and the emergence of the omicron variant of COVID-19, Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency for New York, as well as steps to prepare for possible hospital capacity and staffing shortages. Free COVID-19 boosters are now available to all adults in New York State.

New York City’s recovery stands at a score of 85 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 over four-fifths of the way back to early March 2020 levels.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Grow

COVID-19 hospitalization rates continued to rise as of Nov. 20, climbing to a seven-day average of 39 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, three more than the week before. That rate is still roughly 60% higher than hospitalization rates at the end of June, leaving significant room for improvement before returning to lows reached earlier this year.

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. Omicron variant cases have not been detected in the city yet, but officials expect it could appear in the city in the near future as the variant spreads. A total of 1,157,375 cases and 34,808 deaths were recorded in New York City as of Nov. 30.

As of Nov. 29, New York State has fully vaccinated approximately 69.28% 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 7th out of 50 states, districts, and territories, according to CDC data and analysis by Verywell.

Unemployment Claims Shrink

The city’s rate of unemployment claims dipped from an estimated 38% to 33% above pre-pandemic levels as of Nov. 20, as hiring picks up this holiday season. It was the lowest rate of unemployment claims registered in the history of the index, and the measure’s best week since the onset of the pandemic. Continued momentum in this direction could bring it near a full recovery, as New York’s labor market stabilizes. 

Home Sales Surge

The number of pending home sales in New York City jumped by 59 homes as of Nov. 20, causing the housing market’s score to rebound from the previous week’s losses. Sales in the city are running 70% above pre-pandemic levels, with 706 homes pending sales over the week, compared to 415 in 2019. By borough, sales in Manhattan are up 79.8% compared to pre-pandemic levels, while sales figures in Brooklyn are up 63.5%, and Queens is up 50%.

Rental Market Declines

With 921 fewer available residences on the market as of Nov. 20, New York City’s rental market index fell from a score of 88 to 84. There were a total of 14,463 residences on the market compared to 15,384 the week before. Though its score continues to linger 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 Unchanged

After reaching its best score since the onset of the pandemic the week before, subway ridership effectively remained the same as of Nov. 20, at 40% below pre-pandemic levels. Rider growth could slow, if rising COVID-19 cases amid the rise of new variants hamper the measure’s recovery. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) estimated a trailing seven-day average of close to 2.9 million riders on public transport. 

Restaurant Reservations Climb

The city’s restaurant reservation index registered a new pandemic record high as of Nov. 20, rising slightly from 36% to 35% below 2019 levels, according to OpenTable estimates. It was the measure’s best score since the onset of the pandemic, after reaching a new record the week before. Continued growth, if incremental, could bring the measure near a full recovery by the end of the year, if falling temperatures don’t deter diners. 

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  1. NYC Health. "Total Data."

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