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Seven High Frequency Indicators for the Economy

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.

Click on graph for larger image.

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

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

This data is as of December 6th.

The seven day average is down 65.5% from last year (34.5% of last year).  (Dashed line)

There had been a slow increase from the bottom, but has declined following the Thanksgiving week holiday.

----- 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.

Thanks to OpenTable for providing this restaurant data:

This data is updated through December 5, 2020.

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.

Note that dining is generally lower in the northern states - Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York - but declining in the southern states.

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

This data shows domestic box office for each week (red) and the maximum and minimum for the previous four years.  Data is from BoxOfficeMojo through December 3rd.

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

Movie ticket sales have picked up slightly over the last couple of months, and were at $16 million last week (compared to usually around $200 million per week).

Some movie theaters have reopened (probably with limited seating).

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

This graph shows the seasonal pattern for the hotel occupancy rate using the four week average.

The red line is for 2020, dash light blue is 2019, blue is the median, and black is for 2009 (the worst year since the Great Depression for hotels - prior to 2020).

This data is through November 28th. Hotel occupancy is currently down 28.5% year-over-year.

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

Since there is a seasonal pattern to the occupancy rate, we can track the year-over-year change in occupancy to look for any improvement. This table shows the year-over-year change since the week ending Sept 19, 2020:

Week EndingYoY Change, Occupancy Rate
9/19-31.9%
9/26-31.5%
10/3-29.6%
10/10-29.2%
10/17-30.7%
10/24-31.7%
10/31-29.0%
11/7-35.9%
11/14-32.7%
11/21-32.6%
11/28-28.5%

This suggests no improvement over the last 11 weeks.

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

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

At one point, gasoline supplied was off almost 50% YoY.

As of November 27th, gasoline supplied was off about 11.7% YoY (about 88.3% of last year).

Note: People driving instead of flying might have boosted gasoline consumption over the summer.

----- 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.

This data is through December 5th 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 46% of the January level. It is at 33% in Chicago, and 52% in Houston - and declining recently (the bump down and up was due to Thanksgiving).

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

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

This graph is from Todd W Schneider. This is daily data for this year.

This data is through Friday, December 4th.

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".

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