While the positive turn in the May 2020 jobs report took many by surprise, it came as less of a shock to those following business mileage as an indicator of economic growth. After hitting a low point the week of April 5th, business activity began a steady rise that we saw reflected in the numbers when it came to gains in payrolls and a lower unemployment rate.
Now, as the June jobs report shows a continued comeback, the latest bi-weekly Mileage Trends Flash Report reinforces the correlation between business activity and economic recovery. In total, business mileage levels have increased about 6% since the May jobs report. Although business activity continues to grow as cities continue to reopen, the pace has slowed in recent weeks and is still hovering at around 54% of “normal” pre-pandemic levels.
Additional findings from the report include:
- The Southern U.S. has recovered the highest level of pre-pandemic mileage, now at 57% of pre-pandemic levels although growth has leveled off in recent weeks. The West (55%), Midwest (54%) and Northeast (45%) continue to show steady growth.
- By industry, activity still shows a wide range of recovery to pre-pandemic levels. Over this period, we saw notable gains in Retail and notable declines in Manufacturing:
- Food & Beverage (74% of pre-pandemic levels)
- Construction & Building Materials (61%)
- Hospitals & Healthcare (60%)
- Machinery (55%)
- Retail (50%)
- Business Services (48%)
- Pharmaceutical/Biotech & Medical Devices (41%)
- Energy & Environmental (40%)
- Automotive (37%)
- Manufacturing (33%)
- Within these industries, the report also examines telling trends playing out in subsectors of Food & Beverage, Biotech & Medical Devices, Hospitals & Healthcare, Machinery, Construction & Building Materials and Retail. For example:
- In Retail, apparel, office supplies and furniture have lagged behind other sectors, but showed a sizeable comeback during this period, up from 13% to 31%.
- In Hospitals & Healthcare, in-home nursing services, home medical products and devices and clinical laboratory services have almost fully recovered, trending at 94% of pre-pandemic levels. Pathology, physiotherapy and preventative care, however, are at 34%.
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. We plan to continue to prepare and release these reports bi-weekly in an ongoing effort to provide business leaders with the latest information to help them adapt to the evolving commercial landscape.
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!