COVID-19 economic data tracker

Download the entire weekly edition to view timely charts and data providing a comprehensive picture of how the pandemic affects our economic outlook.

Michael Skordeles, AIF®

Senior U.S. Macro Strategist

Truist Advisory Services, Inc.

Trend watch and what’s new this week

The biggest COVID-19 news this past week was the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) granting full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people age 16 and older. Full approval for the Moderna vaccine is currently in process, along with approvals for boosters and vaccines usage with young children. 

As far as U.S. virus trends, new cases and the number of hospitalizations are climbing (slide 3). The death rate is also increasing, though is considerably below the prior wave. Yet there are several signs that the current wave is peaking, including cases (slide 7) and hospitalization rates (slide 8) in hotspot states. 

The pace of U.S. vaccinations continues to climb (slide 5). About 60% of Americans older than 12 are fully vaccinated and more than 70% have gotten at least one dose.  

For office workers, the delta surge has postponed returning to the office yet again. Two recent work surveys show that workers want flexibility, but also don’t want to completely ditch offices (slide 9). These considerations certainly complicate decisions regarding commercial real estate, while also reinforcing the reasons many companies view offices as a critical part of their operations.

Lastly, we highlight shipping volumes, which are unseasonably strong for this time of the year (slide 10). Many companies continue to work down massive order backlogs created by the pandemic and the reopening. Moreover, retailers are gearing up now for holiday sales later this year. As a result, freight and shipping volumes are expected to stay high for the foreseeable future. 

Bottom line

Most of the traditional economic data remains strong, including consumer spending, an uptick in the July housing figures, and manufacturing gauges. There continues to be softness in the travel-related indicators, but that appears to be seasonality, as many folks wind-down summer vacations and the school year starts. 

The recovery continues to plow forward, though it remains uneven depending on the region and industry. Indeed, as the delta variant demonstrated, COVID-19 is not fully behind us. However, the world is getting much better at managing COVID-19. More importantly, further COVID-19 variants and related outbreaks have not shutdown the global economy nor not derailed the recovery. 

Again, COVID-19 is not fully behind us and, as the Delta variant demonstrated, there will be uneven patches. Yet, the world is getting much better at managing COVID-19. More importantly, it appears further COVID-19 variants and related outbreaks will not fully shutdown the global economy. 

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