Monday, March 22, 2021

Seven High Frequency Indicators for the Economy

by Calculated Risk on 3/22/2021 08:17:00 AM

These indicators are mostly for travel and entertainment.    It will interesting to watch these sectors recover as the vaccine is distributed.   


IMPORTANT: Be safe now - if all goes well, we could all be vaccinated by Q2 2021.

----- Airlines: Transportation Security Administration -----

The TSA is providing daily travel numbers.

TSA Traveler Data Click on graph for larger image.

This data shows the seven day average of daily total traveler throughput from the TSA for 2019 (Light Blue), 2020 (Blue) and 2021 (Red).

The dashed line is the percent of 2019 for the seven day average.

This data is as of March 21st.

The seven day average is down 44.6% from the same week in 2019 (55.4% of last year).  (Dashed line)

There was a slow increase from the bottom, with ups and downs due to the holidays - and TSA data has moved up in 2021.

----- Restaurants: OpenTable -----

The second graph shows the 7 day average of the year-over-year change in diners as tabulated by OpenTable for the US and several selected cities.

IMPORTANT: OpenTable notes: "we’ve updated the data including downloadable dataset from January 1, 2021 onward to compare seated diners from 2021 to 2019, as opposed to year over year." Thanks!

Move Box OfficeThanks to OpenTable for providing this restaurant data:

This data is updated through March 20, 2021.

This data is "a sample of restaurants on the OpenTable network across all channels: online reservations, phone reservations, and walk-ins. For year-over-year comparisons by day, we compare to the same day of the week from the same week in the previous year."

Note that this data is for "only the restaurants that have chosen to reopen in a given market". Since some restaurants have not reopened, the actual year-over-year decline is worse than shown.

Dining picked up during the holidays, then slumped with the huge winter surge in cases.  Dining is picking up again - and is actually up compared to 2019 in Texas.

----- Movie Tickets: Box Office Mojo -----

Move Box OfficeThis data shows domestic box office for each week and the median for the years 2016 through 2019 (dashed light blue).  

Blue is 2020 and Red is 2021.  

The data is from BoxOfficeMojo through Mar 18th.

Note that the data is usually noisy week-to-week and depends on when blockbusters are released.

Movie ticket sales were at $17 million last week, down about 91% from the median for the week.

----- Hotel Occupancy: STR -----

Hotel Occupancy RateThis graph shows the seasonal pattern for the hotel occupancy rate using the four week average.

The red line is for 2021, black is 2020, blue is the median, and dashed light blue is for 2009 (the worst year since the Great Depression for hotels - before 2020).

Even when occupancy increases to 2009 levels, hotels will still be hurting.

This data is through March 13th. Hotel occupancy is currently down 1.4% year-over-year (down 25.8% compared to same week in 2019). Starting next week, occupancy will be up year-over-year, since occupancy declined sharply at the onset of the pandemic. However, occupancy will still be down significantly from normal levels.

Notes: Y-axis doesn't start at zero to better show the seasonal change.

----- Gasoline Supplied: Energy Information Administration -----

gasoline ConsumptionThis graph, based on weekly data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), shows gasoline supplied compared to the same week of 2019.

Blue is for 2020.  Red is for 2021.

As of March 12th, gasoline supplied was off about 10.3% (about 89.7% of the same week in 2019).

Gasoline supplied will be up year-over-year soon, since at one point, gasoline supplied was off almost 50% YoY in 2020.

----- Transit: Apple Mobility -----

This graph is from Apple mobility. From Apple: "This data is generated by counting the number of requests made to Apple Maps for directions in select countries/regions, sub-regions, and cities." This is just a general guide - people that regularly commute probably don't ask for directions.

There is also some great data on mobility from the Dallas Fed Mobility and Engagement Index. However the index is set "relative to its weekday-specific average over January–February", and is not seasonally adjusted, so we can't tell if an increase in mobility is due to recovery or just the normal increase in the Spring and Summer.

Apple Mobility Data This data is through March 20th for the United States and several selected cities.

The graph is the running 7 day average to remove the impact of weekends.

IMPORTANT: All data is relative to January 13, 2020. This data is NOT Seasonally Adjusted. People walk and drive more when the weather is nice, so I'm just using the transit data.

According to the Apple data directions requests, public transit in the 7 day average for the US is at 59% of the January 2020 level. It is at 52% in Chicago, and 60% in Houston (the Houston dip was a weather related decline) - and moving up recently.

----- New York City Subway Usage -----

Here is some interesting data on New York subway usage (HT BR).

New York City Subway UsageThis graph is from Todd W Schneider. This is weekly data since 2015. 

Most weeks are between 30 and 35 million entries, and currently there are under 10 million subway turnstile entries per week.

This data is through Friday, March 19th.

Schneider has graphs for each borough, and links to all the data sources.

He notes: "Data updates weekly from the MTA’s public turnstile data, usually on Saturday mornings".