Editor’s note: Below you’ll find the week 103 release of the NYC Recovery Index, originally published August 23, 2022. Visit the NYC Recovery index homepage for the latest data.
New York City’s economic recovery progressed slightly for the week ending August 13, 2022, with the overall index score rising by one percentage point to 73 out of 100. COVID-19 hospitalizations continued to decline, albeit at a more moderate pace, while unemployment insurance (UI) claims fell. It was a positive week for both subway ridership and restaurant reservations, which reversed their declines from the previous week. Meanwhile, home sales are once again above their pre-pandemic baseline. A slight decrease in rental vacancies was the sole negative development in this week’s report.
New York City’s economic recovery stands at a score of 73 out of 100, according to the New York City Recovery Index, a joint project between Investopedia and NY1. Over two years into the pandemic, New York City’s economic recovery is nearly three-quarters of the way back to pre-pandemic levels.
COVID-19 Hospitalizations Continue to Fall
The COVID-19 hospitalization rate in New York City declined for the fourth consecutive week, with daily hospitalizations falling to an average of 115, compared to 118 recorded over the previous week. However, the rate of decline has slowed considerably, with hospitalizations remaining over six times above the post-winter-wave low of 18 recorded in early March.
Between July 15 and August 12, COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York City declined by an encouraging 27.4%. At the same time, ICU admittances for patients with severe COVID-19 declined by 1.5%, while the number requiring intubation fell by 9.3%. This indicates that the number of patients with more severe health complications has not fallen as rapidly as the overall hospitalization count.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to project that all new cases are omicron-related, with an overwhelming share—87.9%—now attributed to the BA.5 subvariant. Meanwhile, the shares attributed to the BA.4.6 and BA.4 variants have fallen to just 8.2% and 3.5%, respectively.
The share of fully vaccinated city residents remained unchanged this week, with 79.3% of residents fully immunized against COVID-19 per NYC Health & Hospitals data. Since the pandemic began two-and-a-half years ago, nearly 2.8 million cases have been recorded in New York City, along with 41,459 deaths.
Unemployment Claims Stabilize
The number of unemployment insurance (UI) claims filed in New York City fell by 300 claims for the week ending August 13, totaling 5,990. By comparison, the 2019 rolling average of claims registered a rise of 137 and totaling 5,470. As such, UI claims are inching back closer to their pre-pandemic baseline, but remain 9.5% above 2019 levels. Reflecting this week’s improvement, the unemployment claims subindex rose by 6.5 percentage points to 91 out of 100, and it remains the second best-performing subcomponent of the aggregate index.
Home Sales Jump
Pending home sales throughout New York City rose by 39 homes during the week ended August 13, totaling 491. Meanwhile, the pre-pandemic rolling average of sales, tracking the calendar-equivalent week of 2019, decreased by 17 homes to a total of 387. As such, citywide home sales are now nearly 27% above their pre-pandemic baseline, compared to 11.8% last week, with the index measure remaining fully recovered at 100 points. By borough, sales in Manhattan surpassed those of Brooklyn in relation to 2019 levels. Manhattan home sales are now 33.7% above their pre-pandemic baseline, compared to respective figures of 22.4% and 18.1% for Brooklyn and Queens.
Rental Vacancies Decline Slightly
There were 16,983 available residences on New York City’s rental market for the week ending August 13, 119 fewer compared to the previous week. This represented a very minimal decline, with the rental availability subindex remaining unchanged at 85 out of 100. The city’s rental market remains roughly one thousand units short of the pre-pandemic norm for this time of year, and would require more consistent gains to fully recover.
Subway Ridership Rebounds
The MTA subway experienced a slight rebound in ridership during the week ended August 13, with average daily ridership rising to 39.3% below pre-pandemic levels, compared to 40.8% down last week. The subway mobility subindex increased in turn rose to 61 out of 100. For the week, the MTA reported a trailing average of 2.65 million daily riders. Current ridership remains below levels seen in May and June, and is relatively unchanged from the pre-omicron-wave levels of November and early December 2021. Greater and more consistent percentage gains will be necessary for the city’s subway system to fully recover.
Restaurant Reservations Increase
Restaurant reservations throughout New York City saw an encouraging increase during the week of August 13, rising to 38.8% below the pre-pandemic baseline after falling below the 40% threshold last week. The restaurant reservations subindex rose to 61 out of 100 in effect, and remains tied with subway mobility as the second least-recovered index component. With the end of summer approaching, the city’s restaurant industry still has considerable ground to make up to recover customers lost due to the pandemic.