Editor’s Note: Below is the Week 67 post of the NYC Recovery Index, originally released on November 30, 2021. Visit the NYC Recovery Index homepage for the latest data.
New York City’s Economic Recovery Index fell from a score of 81 to 85 on November 20, bringing the index back to its highest score since the start of the pandemic. It was the sixth week that the index crossed an overall score of 80. A jump in the city’s home sales index led the gains, while most other measures also advanced. However, rising hospitalization rates for COVID-19 continued to dampen the index.
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 measures to prepare for possible shortages in hospital capacity and staff. 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. More than a year and a half after the start of the pandemic, New York’s economic recovery is more than four-fifths of the return to early March 2020 levels.
COVID-19 hospitalizations on the rise
Hospitalization rates for COVID-19 continued to increase through November 20, reaching a seven-day average of 39 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, three more than the previous week. This rate is still about 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 predict that about 99.9% of new cases in the New York City area (along with New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) are related to the delta variant. Cases of the Omicron variant have yet to be detected in the city, but officials expect it may appear in the city in the near future as the variant spreads. A total of 1,157,375 cases and 34,808 deaths have been recorded in New York as of November 30.
As of November 29, New York State has fully immunized about 69.28% of its wider population and is on track to fully immunize 70% by the end of January next year. In a national ranking of state immunization efforts, New York State ranked 7th out of 50 states, districts and territories, according to CDC data and analysis from Very well.
Unemployment claims are falling
The city’s jobless claims rate rose from around 38% to 33% above pre-pandemic levels on Nov. 20, as hiring resumes this holiday season. It was the lowest unemployment claim rate recorded in the index’s history and the best week in the measurement since the start of the pandemic. The continued momentum in this direction could lead it to an almost complete recovery, as the New York labor market stabilizes.
Acceleration of home sales
The number of pending home sales in New York City jumped 59 homes as of November 20, bouncing the housing market score from losses the week before. Sales in the city are 70% above pre-pandemic levels, with 706 homes awaiting sale during the week, up from 415 in 2019. By borough, sales in Manhattan are up 79.8 % from pre-pandemic levels, while sales figures in Brooklyn are up 63.5% and Queens is up 50%.
Decline in the rental market
With 921 fewer homes available on the market as of November 20, the New York City Rental Market Index fell from 88 to 84. There were a total of 14,463 homes on the market compared to 15 384 the previous week. Although its score continues to linger into the 1980s, 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 start of the pandemic the previous week, metro ridership effectively remained the same as of November 20, 40% below pre-pandemic levels. Passenger growth could slow if the increase in COVID-19 cases amid the rise of new variants hinders the resumption of the measure. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has estimated a seven-day average of nearly 2.9 million passengers on public transportation.
MontÃ©e restaurant reservations
The city’s restaurant reservation index hit a new pandemic record as of November 20, dropping slightly from 36% to 35% below 2019 levels, according to OpenTable estimates. This was the measure’s best score since the start of the pandemic, after hitting a new record the week before. The continued growth, if gradual, could bring the measure of a full recovery closer by the end of the year, if the drop in temperatures does not deter diners.