Trend watch and what’s new this week
The recent delta variant wave is clearly peaking in the U.S. This is evident in terms of new cases and the number of hospitalizations (slide 3). This is most apparent in the hotspot states, where cases (slide 7) and the rate of hospitalizations (slide 8) have declined.
Yet the improvement among adults masks a surge within school-age children ages 5-17 (slide 9). This is particularly concerning for children under age 12, who are both increasingly getting infected and being hospitalized.
It also highlights the effectiveness of the vaccines as infections within the older cohort have remained stable. However, the vaccination pace has dropped, both globally (slide 4) and in the U.S. (slide 5).
The seasonality within the travel-related data (slide 6) we’ve repeatedly noted is becoming more apparent as both air passenger traffic and hotel occupancy have jumped.
This week, we revisit payment of apartment rents (slide 10). Rates have slipped of late, but it remains to be seen how much was related to the Labor Day holiday and Hurricane Ida.
We included two recent surveys related to vaccine hesitancy (slide 11), which appears to have dwindled. Yet, the remaining unvaccinated appear quite adamant regardless of FDA-approval or mandates.
Also, we highlight new office data (slide 12). It shows roughly a third of workers are back in the office with wide disparities regionally and by industry.
There have been plenty of cross-currents, including the Labor Day holiday, Hurricane Ida, the delta variant, and the wind down of summer. All of these have conspired to dent some of the economic momentum gathered over the summer and caused noise in some of the data recently, which will likely persist for the next few weeks.
Those factors have also made the unevenness by region and industry more apparent once again. However, in most cases, it appears to be more of delay than a derailing of the recovery. This view is supported by much of the traditional economic data, which remains strong, including consumer spending, housing figures, as well as several gauges of services and manufacturing.
In other words, while the pace has slowed somewhat, overall economic growth remains solid and well-above the pre-pandemic rate.
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