The New York City Recovery Index: February 7

Economy

Editor's note: Below you'll find the week 75 release of the NYC Recovery Index, originally published Feb. 8, 2022. Visit the NYC Recovery index homepage for the latest data.

New York City’s economic recovery index experienced another slight dip over the week ended Jan. 29, as the index dropped from a score of 75 to 73. COVID-19 hospitalizations fell rapidly, but most other measures experienced setbacks, as subway ridership and restaurant reservations waned, and unemployment claims rose.

New York health commissioner Mary Bassett reportedly told lawmakers at a state budget meeting on Tuesday that the state’s mask mandate will continue in schools, even as several neighboring states, such as New Jersey and Connecticut, make plans to lift similar mandates. The mask mandate will expire for indoor spaces and businesses in New York on Thursday.

New York City’s 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. Nearly two years into the pandemic, NYC’s economic recovery is just under three-quarters of the way back to early March 2020 levels.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Decline

COVID-19 hospitalization rates continued to drop dramatically as of Jan. 29, down to a seven-day average of 235 hospitalizations per day. That rate is 190 hospitalizations lower than the previous week, and represented a 75.7% decline from the week of Jan. 8. Over the same period, COVID-19 patients in the ICU dropped over 9%. While the hospitalization rate is still high, it is expected to reach pre-omicron levels if hospitalizations continue to decline at the current pace.

All of the new cases in the region can be attributed to the omicron variant, with the CDC projecting 100% of new cases in the New York region (along with New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) are related to omicron.

A total of 2,253,847 cases and 39,012 deaths were recorded in New York City as of Feb. 8, while 75.5% of New York State’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to NYC Health data.

Unemployment Claims Rise

Unemployment claims increased slightly as of Jan. 29, pushing the index score down from 98 to 90. Though the increase was not a dramatic one at 40 claims, a substantial drop in claims over the same period in 2019 weighed on the measure by comparison. The city’s unemployment claims index has effectively recovered. However, this could change if claims continue to increase. There were a total of 6,830 claims in New York City for the week ended Jan. 29, compared to a rolling average of 6,153 over the same week in 2019.

Home Sales Little Changed

Pending home sales increased slightly, with sales rising to 491 for the week of Jan. 29, compared with 238 sales over the same period in 2019. The city’s home sales market continues to surpass pre-pandemic levels, with home sales 45% higher than in 2019. By borough, Manhattan and Brooklyn experienced higher increases in home sales from pre-pandemic rates, at 67.5% and 49.4%, respectively. Home sales in Queens only represented a 7.8% increase from pre-pandemic levels. 

Rental Market Contracts

New York City had 12,202 rentals on the market for the week of Jan. 29, a decline of 573 units from the week prior, bringing the city’s rental index from a score of 82 to 80. It was the third straight week of declines, as the city’s supply of available units continues to hold back the measure’s progress. However, it still remains one of the best-performing measures in the index, behind home sales and unemployment claims.

Subway Ridership Slides

Subway ridership lost ground as of Jan. 29, falling back to a seven-day trailing average of 53% below pre-pandemic levels. The move reversed gains from the past week, effectively returning to the same level two weeks before, and the negative trend ridership had been on for several weeks. The rate continues to linger near June 2021 levels, when it stagnated within just a few percentage points of 50%. The MTA now estimates a trailing 7-day average of 2.23 million riders as of Jan. 29.

Restaurant Reservations Plunge

New York City restaurant reservations fell back to 64% below 2019 levels as of Jan. 29, wiping gains from the week before, according to OpenTable estimates. Since the emergence of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in New York City, reservations had been on a downward trend. Although hospitalizations are on the decline, colder outdoor temperatures during the winter season could continue to delay progress for several weeks. 

Article Sources

  1. New York City Department of Health. “Commissioner’s Determination on Indoor Masking.” Accessed Feb. 8, 2022.

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