July 2020 provided a blast of good news when the U.S. economy added 1.8 million jobs last month, driven by hiring in the hardest-hit sectors, including hospitality, restaurants and retail. While the number of long-term unemployed barely changed over July, the number of people who were jobless less than five weeks increased by 11%.
Our latest bi-weekly Mileage Trends Flash Report, which follows business mileage trends to provide a current view of economic growth and recovery, shows similar mixed results. While current mileage activity has increased to 66% of pre-pandemic levels, the national levels of business mileage activity leveled off in early August, a trend that persists across regions and in many industries.
Here’s a deeper dive into the key findings from the report:
- The Western U.S. is trending at 64% of pre-pandemic levels. Driving activity, however, is trending towards a slight decline after reaching a plateau. The Southern and Midwestern U.S. are close behind, with business mileage at 63% of pre-pandemic levels. The Northeastern U.S. is at 55% of pre-pandemic levels and continues to trend upwards.
- Mileage trended upward rapidly in most industries in May and June. This is most likely due to widespread reopening efforts and pent-up demand. Recent weeks have seen slower growth, with different industry sectors experiencing a 2-4% increase in business mileage activity.
- Food & Beverage (78% of pre-pandemic levels)
- Construction & Building Materials (72%)
- Machinery (63%)
- Hospitals & Healthcare (60%)
- Business Services (58%)
- Retail (55%)
- Pharmaceutical/Biotech & Medical Devices (54%)
- Energy & Environmental (43%)
- Automotive (43%)
- Manufacturing (42%)
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 are changing these reports from bi-weekly to monthly and look forward to sharing the next Mileage Trends Flash Report in mid-September.
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!