Mileage Trends Flash Report (February 18, 2021): Holiday Season Leads to a Falloff in Business Driving in Early 2021

We took a brief hiatus from our Mileage Trend Flash Reports after sharing the November 12, 2020 findings, given the typical holiday season slowdown at year-end. However, we know many business leaders are monitoring field activity—a strong indicator of economic health—to understand what is happening in their industry sector as we continue to work forward. As such, we will share these reports on a quarterly basis and build upon the insights we brought to you in 2020.

After a small but steady increase in mileage activity for most of the second half of 2020, the holiday season gave way to a falloff in business driving. Field activity began to increase again at the end of January, but has slowed over recent weeks. Still, activity is 86% higher than the week of April 5, 2020, the lowest level of business mileage over the previous 12 months.

Here’s a closer look at other notable key findings from our February 18th report:

  • To date, average business mileage during the WorkForward period has increased to 69% of pre-pandemic levels, the highest we’ve seen since the onset of the pandemic. Regionally, the South is experiencing the highest level of activity, trending at about 70% of pre-pandemic levels. The Midwest is experiencing 69% growth in activity, the Western U.S. is experiencing 67% growth and business mileage in the Northeast has grown to 63% of pre-pandemic levels.
  • While activity levels vary from region to region, there is an even wider variety among industry sectors and their many subsectors. After seeing rapid activity increases over the spring and summer months, full recovery to pre-pandemic levels remains out of reach for most businesses. Recent months have seen more volatile mileage trends in different industry sectors. This illustrates how business activity trends differ depending on where and how companies operate, but also shows how factors like seasonal demand can impact employment levels.
  • Here’s a closer look at the recovery of various sectors:
    • Business Services (102%, +26% above the WorkForward average)
    • Food & Beverage (85% of pre-pandemic levels, a +34% increase over the lowest point the week of April 5th)
    • Construction & Building Materials (78% of pre-pandemic levels, -17% below the WorkForward average)
    • Machinery (69% of pre-pandemic levels, -6% below the WorkForward average)
    • Pharmaceutical/Biotech & Medical Devices (67% of pre-pandemic levels, +21% above the average)
    • Hospitals & Healthcare (64% of pre-pandemic levels, -15% below the average)
    • Retail (60% of pre-pandemic levels, -10% below the average)
    • Energy & Environmental (51%, -7% below the average)
    • Automotive (51%, -7% below the average)
    • Manufacturing (48%, -28% below the average)

As business leaders seek a balanced approach to bringing driving activity back up to pre-COVID levels while avoiding unnecessary risk for their employees, we hope these flash reports provide useful benchmarks of field activity and business trend indicators.

For businesses that would like further guidance or to talk through what this data means for you, we’re here to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!

The Author

Ken Robinson

As a Market Research Manager, Ken’s research skills and insights help identify and interpret trends affecting mobile workers and the ever-changing marketplace.

Read more by Ken Robinson

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