Week 42

Covid-19 Economic Data Tracker

October 22, 2021

Trend watch and what's new this week

Although attention has shifted away from COVID-19, there are still hotspots globally and in the U.S. New cases in the United Kingdom are climbing again due to combination of factors (slide 9). 

In the U.S., regional hotspots in colder states remain an issue (slide 7). Still, nationwide numbers for new cases, hospitalizations, and death rates continue to improve (slide 3). 

Also, new cases among school-aged children appears to be stabilizing (slide 8). Trial data released this week shows vaccines are highly effective for younger children, which should lead to vaccine eligibility to expand in the next few weeks. 

Vaccine hesitancy is waning (slide 10). Yet, roughly one quarter of Americans are unwilling to get the shot, which may be driving some of the motivation for vaccine mandates. 

This week, we revisit box office trends (slide 11), which have improved recently thanks to the release of two blockbusters. 

Lastly, we updated the staffing data, which continue to surge and are up to a six-year high (slide 12). Companies have quickly added temporary staff as the delta variant receded. 

Bottom line

We continue to see stronger overall economic activity as the delta variant recedes nationwide. The latest has been an uptick in the housing data for September. 

However, the ongoing supply chain problems and transportation bottlenecks have also continued. Those challenges hamper overall growth and will likely persist for some time. For instance, new vehicle sales, which are hamstrung by the semiconductor shortage, are the poster child of this issue. All but one carmaker saw third quarter sales in the U.S. decline from a year ago (Toyota edged up 1.4%) and all blamed a lack of finished vehicles. They are also global issues, not just for the U.S. 

While some of the virus trends are improving generally, we’re still witnessing regional hotspots in the U.S. as well as the ongoing surge in the U.K. Ultimately, there are still challenges ahead, including a widespread worker shortage, and wage inflation. Lastly, typical seasonality will return as cooler autumn and winter weather reduce activity levels.

 

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