NEW YORK - If 100 marks the state of the city economy pre-pandemic, today the New York economy would be rated 23, at least according to our new recovery index.
Data has been key in the fight against the spread of coronavirus. Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo release daily medical statistics showing death rates, hospitalizations and virus test results. By now every New Yorker knows what it means to “flatten the curve,” and we’re all familiar with the governor’s bar charts that he eventually turned into the “COVID Mountain.”
“We wanted to be able to track the decline and recovery of New York City’s economy in the same way we’ve been tracking the hospital numbers,” said NY1 Morning Anchor Pat Kiernan.
So in partnership with the financial information website Investopedia, NY1 will publish an exclusive New York City Recovery Index. The debut of the weekly chart, which tracks as far back as January, shows a stunning visualization of the economic shock the city has experienced.
In January and February, as the city operated normally, the weekly recovery index fluctuated in a narrow range. For three weeks in early March, there’s a gradual slowing of the economy, and then in the week of March 21, there’s a dramatic decline that coincides with the shutdown of most New York businesses. The index reaches its lowest point the week of April 4, coinciding with the height of the crisis at New York’s hospitals.
NY1 Senior Business Anchor Annika Pergament will use the index each week as a visual tool to tell a story that affects every New Yorker. She describes the chart as “sobering,” but says the index “takes the guesswork out of how the city is recovering. It provides relatable metrics that everyone can follow to see how we're getting through this pandemic.”
In May, Cuomo told reporters “I don’t believe the economy just bounces back. I believe it bounces back, but it bounces back differently.” The NY1/Investopedia index will try to quantify the factors behind that “different” recovery.
To tell the economic story, the Investopedia data experts reviewed dozens of potential statistical sources. They had to find data points that were relevant to an analysis of the economy, but also publicly available, authoritative, and published regularly. The index components and weighting may be revised in the months ahead, but for now it includes a combination of typical data points, like the unemployment rate, and some surprising data points, like OpenTable restaurant reservations.
Investopedia’s Editor in Chief Caleb Silver says the index reflects the interdependency of New York City’s economic sectors. He says the recovery will ultimately be a “team effort in a city that has been built and battle-tested by one challenge after the other, where its citizens pick one another up and keep moving.”
NY1 and Investopedia will release the Recovery Index both weekly and monthly, measuring micro and macroeconomic data points that illustrate the health of the recovery process. Using a baseline of 100, where 100 reflects the health of the New York City economy before the pandemic struck in late February, the overall Recovery Index score will measure where the city stands in its path toward recovery.
As of today, New York City's Recovery Index Score is just 23 out of 100, meaning the city’s economy is operating at just a quarter of where it had been prior to the pandemic.
A full discussion of the methodology behind the NY1 / Investopedia New York City Economic Recovery Index is available and updated weekly here.