Chart of the Month | Measuring Social Distancing with Mobility Trends

June 4, 2020 |
1 minute read

We continue to monitor the level of social distancing as an indicator for business activity and improvement in consumer sentiment. Personal spending experienced the largest month-over-month drop on record of 13.6 percent in April, leaving consumption more than 20 percent lower than February and illustrating the demand impact of the coronavirus lockdown. As seen below, data from the Google Mobility Report[1] as of May 21st, shows that social distancing in the global economy continues to loosen up, as lockdown measures are gradually lifted in the developed economies of Europe, Asia and the United States. The greatest gains in activity can be seen in grocery and pharmacy stores and outdoor spaces where social distancing is easier to maintain, while offices and transit stations are lagging. On the other hand, data from Brazil, Mexico, India and Peru show new confirmed cases continue to surge at an alarming rate. One caveat in the data from emerging market countries is that the low penetration of smartphones could show trends not entirely reflective of the overall economy. In the U.S., businesses continue to recover from the bottom with hotel occupancies in leisure destinations such as Myrtle Beach and the Florida panhandle reaching over 70 percent. Equity markets have remained upbeat on the reopening trends in the U.S., although the recent performance in the S&P 500 Index appears to have significantly outpaced the level of business activity and consumer behavior.


Ivo C. Nenin


Ivo C. Nenin

Stay connected with the Insights Blog

Popular Blog Posts

Investment Strategy | Insights Blog

What is an OCIO?

Outsourced investment management, once primarily a solution for small institutions with limited resources, is now used by a broad range of long-term investors. When properly implemented, outsourcing...
Investment Strategy | Insights Blog

How to Measure Private Equity Investments

Private capital investors use a particular set of quantitative and qualitative measures to assess performance. While the standard benchmarks used for marketable securities are sometimes applied to...
Governance And Policy | Insights Blog

Five Key Points of the Investment Policy Statement

The central document guiding the management of a nonprofit institution’s endowment—essentially, the strategic plan of the investment committee—is the investment policy statement (IPS). The IPS should...


Information, opinions, or commentary concerning the financial markets, economic conditions, or other topical subject matter are prepared, written, or created prior to printing and do not reflect current, up-to-date, market or economic conditions. Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to update such information, opinions, or commentary. To the extent views presented forecast market activity, they may be based on many factors in addition to those explicitly stated in this material. Forecasts of experts inevitably differ. Views attributed to third parties are presented to demonstrate the existence of points of view, not as a basis for recommendations or as investment advice. Managers who may or may not subscribe to the views expressed in this material make investment decisions for funds maintained by Commonfund or its affiliates. The views presented in this material may not be relied upon as an indication of trading intent on behalf of any Commonfund fund, or of any Commonfund manager. Market and investment views of third parties presented in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of Commonfund and Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to present its views on the subjects covered in statements by third parties. Statements concerning Commonfund’s views of possible future outcomes in any investment asset class or market, or of possible future economic developments, are not intended, and should not be construed, as forecasts or predictions of the future investment performance of any Commonfund fund. Such statements are also not intended as recommendations by any Commonfund entity or employee to the recipient of the presentation. It is Commonfund’s policy that investment recommendations to its clients must be based on the investment objectives and risk tolerances of each individual client. All market outlook and similar statements are based upon information reasonably available as of the date of this presentation (unless an earlier date is stated with regard to particular information), and reasonably believed to be accurate by Commonfund. Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to provide the recipient of this presentation with updated or corrected information. Past performance is not indicative of future results. For more information please refer to Important Disclosures.