• Bill Stone

U.S. Reopening Monitor Update - December 14, 2020

The Stone Investment Partners’ U.S. Reopening Monitor was designed to provide a dashboard of high frequency and non-traditional data to gauge the pace and strength of U.S. economic activity as business restarts following the COVID-19 lockdown. The dashboard consists of three main indicator groups: healthcare, economic and financial market. This guide will provide the details behind each of the indicators within the groups.

Readings for our U.S. Reopening Monitor declined to the lowest level since May with tightening restrictions under Lockdown 2.0 as COVID cases and deaths rose. Underlying high frequency economic data showed only mobility improving while consumer sentiment, jobs, retail sales, airline travel, dining and public transit showed softening. The Atlanta and New York Fed’s estimate of 4Q GDP growth remained at 11.2% and 2.5%, respectively.

A way to visualize the data is to look at the number of factors in the monitor improving or deteriorating on a week-over-week basis.

Initial and continuing jobless claims are releases with a one- and two-week lag respectively. Data marked with an asterisk (*) denotes that the indicator was either not yet available or not published by the underlying source that week. The data marked in green indicates that the measurement improved on a week-over-week basis, while red reflects week-over-week deterioration.

The Dallas Fed's Mobility and Engagement National Index (MEI) is part our toolkit to monitor activity away from home in the U.S. The MEI uses cell phone data to gauge how much activity has been impacted by COVID with normal being 0 and the April average weekly low at -100. The MEI consists of seven different underlying measures including the percentage of mobile devices leaving home along with the distance and duration of the trip and the average time spent at home.

Though this monitor focuses on the U.S., it is worth highlighting the spike in COVID infections and additional restrictions on activity in other parts of the world.

The rate of growth in Eurozone COVID cases continued to retreat. Restrictions across much of the globe continue to impact dining with a -56% decline from the global baseline. France, Italy and Spain saw a decline in the weekly infection pace, while Germany saw an uptick and is poised to implement further lockdowns on Wednesday.

The increase in cases and restrictions are weighing on dining in Germany.

The U.K. pace of infections ticked a bit higher, while U.K. dining fell to -36.2% Y/Y versus baseline.

The weekly pace of COVID infections in Japan rose to a new all-time high.

Apple publishes international mobility trends that we'll be monitoring.

The Guide to the U.S. Reopening Monitor is linked here.

The PDF version of the weekly update to the U.S. Reopening Monitor is linked here.

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