Week 9

Covid-19 Economic Data Tracker

March 4, 2022

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

Trend watch and what's new this week

U.S. infections have continued to decline (slide 3). Also, global vaccination trends appear to be ticking higher (slide 4). However, the pace of U.S. vaccinations has stalled (slide 5). That said, about 75% of Americans over 12 years are fully vaccinated and almost half have received a booster.

School-aged new cases is clearly stabilizing (slide 6), having held steady for third week in a row. This is a positive insofar as school-age children had the fastest pace of new infections during 2022.

Incoming activity-based data continued to firm this past week (slide 2 and slide 7).

This week, we updated hotel occupancy (slide 8), which rose for the fourth straight week and are at their highest level since mid-November 2021.

Lastly, we illustrate the monthly job gains in February (slide 9), which had another big upside surprise. Additionally, we share the change in the number of jobs since the start of the pandemic. While there are still 2.1 million fewer workers compared to the pre-pandemic level, more than 70% those “missing” jobs are from the leisure & hospitality industry.

Bottom line

We remain encouraged within the activity-based data, corroborated by strong job gains in February (along with solid wage & income gains in the same report). 

This momentum is important given the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which we know has yet to appear in the U.S. economic data. Meanwhile, global energy markets have definitely reacted as have other commodities prices.

The biggest impact to the U.S. economy is that it aggravates inflationary pressures, especially with respect to higher gasoline prices. Thus, the Russian invasion is a modest negative for U.S. economic growth. Obviously, a quick resolution or diplomatic solution would blunt much of the economic impact. 

Ultimately, though, we maintain our view that U.S. recession risks are low. While there may be short-term pain for consumers with hotter inflation, much of the spillover effects from the Ukraine situation into the energy markets is likely to shift spending from discretionary consumption to the energy sector within the U.S. economy.

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