Editor’s note: Below you’ll find the week 48 release of the NYC Recovery Index, originally published July 19, 2021. Visit the NYC Recovery index homepage for the latest data.
New York City’s economic recovery made substantial gains as of July 10, lifting its overall score four points to settle at an all-time high of 78. This is the ninth week the index has surpassed a score of 70, and the twelfth straight week above 60. Rising home sales were primarily responsible for the increase. Other index composite measures, including COVID-19 hospitalizations and subway ridership, also made progress over the same period, though hospitalizations rose the following weekend of July 18. Next week’s index will reflect the upsurge, as over 1,000 new cases were reported on July 17, more than doubling the average number of cases from 216 on July 8 to 520 on July 18.
On June 19, New York closed four mass vaccination centers, as the state begins to downsize vaccination efforts and redistribute resources with greater focus on areas with lower vaccination rates. Mayor Bill de Blasio stated on June 18 that there is no plan to reinstate mask mandates at this time, but that they may be reevaluated later.
New York City’s recovery stands at a score of 78 out of 100, according to the New York City Recovery Index, a joint project between Investopedia and NY1. The index rose four points from the week prior. Over a year into the pandemic, NYC’s economic recovery is now roughly four-fifths of the way back to early March 2020 levels.
COVID-19 Hospitalizations Temporarily Drop
COVID-19 hospitalization rates declined slightly as of July 10, posting a rolling seven-day average of 21 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, one fewer than the week prior. However, cases ticked upward soon after, with over 1,000 new cases reported on Saturday, July 17, for the first time since May 8. NYC has recorded a total of 962,829 cases and 33,487 deaths, as of July 19. Health officials say 69% of all new cases are linked to the Delta variant, and that most cases involved individuals who were not vaccinated.
As of July 18, New York State fully vaccinated approximately 56.23% of its broader population and 65.2% of the currently eligible population (all ages 12 and older), on pace to fully vaccinate 70% by November. In a national ranking of state vaccination efforts, New York State came in 18 out of 50 states, districts, and territories, according to VeryWell Health.
Unemployment Claims Plateau
Little to no change was recorded in New York City’s estimated UI claims rate this week, still at 84% above 2019 levels. While 84% represents a significant improvement from pandemic highs, the UI claims rate appears to be stagnating at a two-month trailing average of 83% above 2019 levels, despite restrictions being lifted and hospitalizations on the decline.
Home Sales Pick Up
New York City’s home buying market shifted into high gear this week, now running 68% above pre-pandemic levels. It’s the only measure in the index that has fully recovered. Manhattan is up 46% above 2019 levels, followed by Brooklyn at 28% and Queens at 1%. All three boroughs declined dramatically over the past week, but are still far ahead of 2019 figures.
Rental Vacancies Stall
In a slight setback from the prior week’s momentum, New York City’s rental market posted a slight hike in 194 vacancies, though not enough to change the rental market’s index score. As more leases end between May through August, the summer season typically brings higher turnover in the city’s rental market, and vacancies are expected to drop, moving the index further in the positive direction over the coming two months.
Subway Ridership Climbs
Subway ridership continued to rise as of July 10, with the seven-day rolling average just under 50% below pre-pandemic ridership, more than half of the way back to recovery. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) estimated a trailing seven-day average of over 2.02 million riders on public transport, pushing the index’s subway score up by one point.
Restaurants Reservations Falter
Restaurant reservations took a sizable hit, sliding back to 52% below 2019 levels as of July 10, down from 45% the week prior, according to OpenTable estimates. This was the first week reservations fell from their month-long growth streak. With most remaining COVID-19-related restrictions lifted, however, reservations are expected to rebound over the next few weeks.