Chart of the Month | Measuring Social Distancing with Mobility Trends

June 4, 2020 |
1 minute read
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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.

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Ivo C. Nenin

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Ivo C. Nenin

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