New York City’s economic recovery made modest gains as of May 29, notching three points higher to settle at a score of 75. This is the third week that the index has surpassed 70, and the seventh straight week above 60. Although some elements in the index took a negative turn this week, the overall picture was still positive. The score’s increase was mainly due to growth in the city’s housing sales and rental market. Measures that moved in a positive direction this week also included COVID-19 hospitalizations, restaurant reservations, and rental vacancies.
As vaccination rates continued to rise, NYC edged closer to the country’s 70% COVID-19 vaccination goal, and at a press conference on June 7, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state of New York would relax most COVID-related restrictions once the 70% threshold is reached.
New York City’s recovery stands at 75 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 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 Decline
New York City experienced a decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations for the ninth straight week, reporting a rolling seven-day average of 31 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, a reduction in 10 hospitalizations from the prior week’s average. The city’s seven-day average hasn’t been this low since last September. NYC has recorded a total of 951,088 cases and 33,309 deaths, as of June 8.1
New York State is one of several leading the country’s push to vaccinate, ranking 18th out of 59 states, districts, and territories in vaccinations, according to VeryWell Health. With vaccinations available to all persons 12 and older, New York State has vaccinated approximately 48.62% of the population and 56.4% of the currently eligible population as of June 7.
Unemployment Claims Stagnate
The estimated UI claims rate in New York City flatlined this week, hovering at about 91% above 2019 levels. Despite a moderate increase in the year-on-two-years rate, and an 88% increase since last week, this was still one of the best UI weeks since the onset of the pandemic in March of 2020.
With consumption on the rise as New Yorkers get out and about this summer, expect UI claims to hover below initial post-pandemic highs, even if they haven’t returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Home Sales Take Off
Pending home sales saw a major jump the week of May 29, powering full-steam ahead at 84% above 2019 levels. The home buying market has been running higher than normal YOY for New York City since last August.
With housing booming in the U.S., New York’s recent housing gains might not be as pronounced as that of other markets in the U.S., but its resilience is worth noting, persisting through the worst economic downturns of the pandemic.
Rental Vacancies Decrease
New York City’s rental market saw another week of steady gains, as renters took another 1,390 residences off the market, driving the rentals index score another four points higher to its best score since May 30, 2020.
With seven straight weeks of improvements, and heading into what could be an active summer season, the rental index now appears to be rising along with other measures, such as restaurant reservations and COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Subway Ridership Held Steady
Subway ridership experienced a decline as of May 29, as the seven-day rolling average settled at 58% less than 2019 levels over the same period. Going into the summer, when ridership would normally be expected to increase, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) estimated a trailing seven-day average of over 1.93 million riders on public transport, remaining relatively flat against last week’s numbers.
Restaurants Reservations See Small Gains
Restaurant reservations saw minimal gains as of May 29. OpenTable estimates the trailing seven-day average of seated diners in New York City still sits at just over 58% lower than the same period in 2019. This represents the first week the restaurant industry did not see major gains in almost two months.
Compared to the 65% to 75% decline in year-on-year dining reservations last summer, the city has made marked progress on its march to recovery. NYC residents should look forward to a solid fourth quarter if the next few months see reservations continue to climb back to pre-pandemic levels.