Different places reopening at different paces

Year-over-year (YoY) dinner reservation data from OpenTable shows just how widely the pace of reopening in the U.S. varies by state.

Reported daily, this high frequency data shows that people are very slowly but surely getting out of their homes. While overall the U.S. is still down 85% YoY, other states are now down just 50% to 60%. There hasn’t been any uniformity in the rates of change between states either; different places are reopening at different paces.

This belies the challenge the pandemic has posed for economists — the lack of uniform trends or consistent data is making it difficult to assess how much damage COVID-19 is likely to inflict on the economy in the end. Right now, however large or small you think its impact will be, in all probability you could cherry pick the data to prove your point.

What does this mean for markets? Narratives assume a bigger role when it’s this difficult to discern what’s happening in the economy and on a company-by-company basis. Clearly, the reopening/back-to-work narrative has dominated recently, but that’s not set in stone and risks remain. In other words, prepare for a bumpy summer.

 

States shown were selected to represent various levels and timing of reopening.
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