U.S. Reopening Monitor Update - December 21, 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 bounced back a bit despite tightening restrictions under Lockdown 2.0 as COVID cases and deaths rose. Underlying high frequency economic data showed improving mobility, airline travel and retail sales while consumer sentiment, jobs and dining showed softening. The Atlanta and NY Fed’s estimate of 4Q GDP growth is 11.1% and 2.4%, respectively.
Moderna’s vaccine for COVID-19 received emergency authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week. A mutated strain of COVID-19 has been identified in the U.K., but the World Health Organization (WHO) says there is no indication that the vaccines will not be effective against it.
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.
Moovit did not update their transit data this week.
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 retreated again slightly. Restrictions across much of the globe continue to impact dining with a -58% decline from the global baseline. Germany and Italy saw a decline in the weekly infection pace, while France and Spain saw an uptick.
The increase in cases and restrictions are weighing on dining in Germany.
The U.K. pace of infections marched higher, while U.K. dining fell to -37.4% Y/Y versus baseline.
The weekly pace of COVID infections in Japan rose for the twelfth straight week and hit another 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.