Editor’s note: Below you’ll find the week 101 release of the NYC Recovery Index, originally published August 9, 2022. Visit the NYC Recovery index homepage for the latest data.
New York City’s economic recovery receded slightly during the week ending July 30, 2022, with the index score declining by one point to 72 out of 100. This week’s decline was driven primarily by a sizable drop in the unemployment claims subindex. Positive developments this week included a decline in the COVID-19 hospitalization rate, an increase in home sales, and a slight uptick in restaurant reservations. Meanwhile, citywide rental vacancies declined for the week, and subway ridership trended slightly lower.
New York City’s economic recovery stands at a score of 72 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 Decline
The COVID-19 hospitalization rate in New York City declined for the second consecutive week to an average of 130 hospitalized people per day, 23 fewer than the previous week. Following six consecutive weeks of increases, the decline in the COVID-19 hospitalization rate is an encouraging sign for the city’s ongoing health recovery. However, hospitalizations remain sharply elevated, with the current average over seven times higher than the post-winter-wave low of 18 hospitalizations recorded in early March.
The CDC continues to project that 100% of new cases in the New York region are omicron-related. The BA.5 subvariant now accounts for the vast majority (86.9%) of new infections, followed by the BA.4.6 and BA.4 subvariants, now accounting for 6.3% and 5.2% of new infections, respectively. The share of fully vaccinated New York City residents continues to inch higher, with 79.2% of residents fully immunized against COVID-19, according to NYC Health & Hospitals data. Over 2.75 million cases—confirmed and probable—have been recorded in the city since the start of the pandemic, along with 41,257 deaths.
Unemployment Claims Exceed 2019 Average
The number of unemployment insurance (UI) claims filed throughout the city fell to 6,070 total during the week ending July 30, down 530 from the week before. Despite this, the UI claims subindex dropped 12.5 percentage points, falling below a full recovery, because claims fell by an even larger amount (2,004 claims) during the equivalent week in 2019. As a result, unemployment claims are now roughly 14% above the pre-pandemic baseline tracking the same week of 2019. The city’s labor market has vacillated between gains and losses in recent weeks, with UI claims remaining roughly in line with their pre-pandemic average.
Home Sales Return to a Full Recovery
Pending home sales throughout the city’s five boroughs rose by 38 during the week ended July 30, registering 484 total sales. Meanwhile, the 2019 rolling average of home sales, tracking the equivalent pre-pandemic week, declined by 14 sales to a total of 434. The home sales subindex is once again considered fully recovered, with citywide home sales 11.6% above their pre-pandemic rolling average. By borough, home sales in Brooklyn have surpassed those of Manhattan and Queens, and are currently 17.3% above their pre-pandemic average. Home sales in Queens and Manhattan exceed their pre-pandemic averages by 8.5% and 5.4%, respectively.
Rental Vacancies Lose Momentum
There were 15,757 available vacancies in New York City’s rental market for the week ending July 30, which is 241 fewer than the previous week, marking the second straight week of declines. As a result, the rental inventory subindex score declined to 80 out of 100, with the city’s rental market still lagging its pre-pandemic average by several thousand units. Disappointingly, the city’s rental market appears to be losing its positive momentum from June and early July, a time of year that typically sees an uptick in rental availability.
This week’s decline in rental availability was unevenly distributed across the city’s major boroughs. Vacancies in Brooklyn declined 3.3%, the most of any borough, while vacancies in Manhattan fell by 1.3%. Meanwhile, Queens actually registered a rise in rental vacancies of 2.8% compared to the week prior.
Subway Ridership Dips Again
Subway ridership fell for the second consecutive week, albeit at a slower pace compared to the previous week. The seven-day average of riderships declined to 39.9% below the pre-pandemic baseline compared to 39.2% down for the week prior, with the subway mobility subindex measuring 60.1 out of 100. At about 60% of the typical pre-pandemic week, subway ridership roughly matches the pre-omicron level of November 2021. The MTA reported a seven-day average of 2.70 million daily riderships for the week ending July 30.
Restaurant Reservations Gain Slightly
Reservations at New York City restaurants ticked slightly higher during the week ended July 30, to 37.7% below the pre-pandemic baseline compared to 39.9% down last week. The restaurant reservations subindex remained effectively unchanged at a score of 62 out of 100. This week’s relatively minor change comes after dramatic swings in the subindex over the past several weeks, from a high of 25.4% below the pre-pandemic average for the week ended July 11, to a low of 43.1% down during the week of July 18. Over two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the city is still missing over a third of its diners from before the pandemic.