In this article we continue exploring spending, employment, and store revenue collection and opening data from the US economy; and tie the evolution of these factors to mobility as reported by Google's Community Mobility Reports.
Initial article: early 2021
Updated: October 2021
A. Aggregated data sources & key observations
During lockdown mobility across critical activities such as retail, transit and workplaces dropped dramatically as expected, and so too did spending activity, store opening and employment.
As such spending and store opening generally correlated with declining mobility at lockdown; interestingly however, decline in employment distinctly lagged behind. In fact, employment recovery post lock-down has struggled to recover despite increases in mobility, particularly at the low income end.
While aggregate spending levels have increased over the course of recovery, and in fact risen beyond pre-lockdown levels since reopening and through the Christmas and New Year period, store opening and revenue collection are far from previous levels.
More recently, spending has begun to show an opposite trend vs. store opening and store revenues since Christmas up to present day. While spending is above baseline levels, store opening and spending hovers at -40% from baseline levels.
Note: refer to section C for reference legend for data sources used.
B. Detailed analysis across four phases
Phase 1: initial lockdown
Start: 9 March 2020
End: 29 March 2020
Phase 2: post lockdown
Start: 3 April 2020
End: 17 June 2020
Phase 3: Slow recovery
Start: 7 July 2020
End: 14 November 2020
Phase 4: Christmas & New Year
Start: 24 November 2020
End: 23 January 2021
C. Reference legend
Spend_: spend data from Affinity Solutions. Legend: acf-accom. & food service; aer-arts, entertainment & recreation; apg-general merchandise & apparel; grf-groceries & foods; hcs-healthcare & social; tws-transport & warehousing; inc_ prefix indicates zip code distribution by income levels*.
GPS_: mobility data sourced from Google.
Merchants_*: small business openings/closings sourced from Womply.
Revenue_*: small business revenues sourced from Womply.
Emp_*: employment level for low income workers sourced from Earnin and Homebase.
Pay_*: earnings by low-income workers sourced from Earnin and Homebase.
by_posts: average level of job postings relative to baseline sourced from Burnglass.
_ss30: manufacturing sector (NAICS)
_ss40: transportation sector (NAICS)
_ss60: professional and business services
_ss70: leisure and hospitality
_pay/emp44_45: pay or employment in accommodation and food services
_pay/emp48_49: pay or employment in transportation and warehousing
_pay/emp72: pay or employment in accommodation and food services
Note (*): inc_ indicates location of store by US zip code, i.e. high income indicates high income zip code.
October 2021 Data Update
Vaccination drive brought back consumer confidence around Q2 2021, given surge in retail mobility and revenues in small businesses
However Delta variant at start Q3 curtailed store openings and revenue registered by small businesses, although overall spending seems to be on the rise
Overall, the economy, especially relating to small business opening and store revenues, has yet to show clear path to recover given low levels compared to baseline
(A) Daily case trajectory & vaccination progress
(B) Mobility changes over the same period
(C) Transmission (Rt) changes & prevalence of VOCs
(D) Changes in highlighted economic statistics
Spend: credit/debit card spending | Revenue: small business revenues | GPS: mobility changes | Merchants: small business store openings