The Unusual Metrics Used to Track the Economic Recovery
June 25, 2020
In gauging the nation’s recovery from the coronavirus, there is a raft of economic data. Economists, investors, and analysts pore over jobs data and consumer spending to better understand the health of the economy. However, in an effort to better understand these unprecedented times, they are turning to increasingly unconventional metrics.
The Wall Street Journal has a rundown of some of the more useful data points that are helping track the recovery. Some are meant to better understand the behavior of the American population. Restaurant reservations and travel through airports, both of which plummeted after the start of the pandemic, have been up in recent weeks. Though not anywhere near their pre-pandemic levels, these numbers show that Americans are gradually resuming regular activities.
Another useful metric is the number of searches for directions in GPS systems like Apple Maps. Some economists have argued that this may have a potential correlation to the labor market, as workers traveling to new jobs and interviews drive the number higher. Other analysts argue that it is a proxy for people’s fear of infection, as they try to avoid taking public transportation.
It is not clear how accurate using data in this way is, but any additional insights into a situation with so many unknowns certainly appeals to people.