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COVID-19

Today’s Numbers: The COVID Economy

Scott Tong and Mitchell Hartman Sep 28, 2020
Kira-Yan/Getty Images

As of 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, Sept. 28, 2020 (we’ll update every weekday morning).

“The leading economic indicator is … the virus.” More than one analyst has put it to us this way. As we try to understand and quantify this unprecedented global economic collapse — and now the attempted restart — we’re following key metrics for COVID-19 and the broader economy.

Welcome to Marketplace’s daily, at-a-glance update.

U.S. COVID-19 deaths reported — yesterday: 307 (falling)

U.S. COVID-19 new cases — yesterday: 35,289 (falling)

Daily new tests reported, U.S.: 806,258 (falling)

COVID-19 patients now in hospital: 29,432 (falling)

U.S. stock market losing streak: 4 weeks

Gallon of gas, U.S. average: $2.19 (rising)

Airbnb listings, July and August: 5% below last year 

U.S. oil and gas rigs active: 69% below last year  

Hotel occupancy rate (2020 in red)


Keep in mind: The tally of COVID-19 cases represents only the ones that are documented.

Our main trusty sources: World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Johns Hopkins University, Our World in Data (based on WHO data, Covid Tracking (scientist/journalist collaboration), GasBuddy.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What does the unemployment picture look like?

It depends on where you live. The national unemployment rate has fallen from nearly 15% in April down to 8.4% percent last month. That number, however, masks some big differences in how states are recovering from the huge job losses resulting from the pandemic. Nevada, Hawaii, California and New York have unemployment rates ranging from 11% to more than 13%. Unemployment rates in Idaho, Nebraska, South Dakota and Vermont have now fallen below 5%.

Will it work to fine people who refuse to wear a mask?

Travelers in the New York City transit system are subject to $50 fines for not wearing masks. It’s one of many jurisdictions imposing financial penalties: It’s $220 in Singapore, $130 in the United Kingdom and a whopping $400 in Glendale, California. And losses loom larger than gains, behavioral scientists say. So that principle suggests that for policymakers trying to nudge people’s public behavior, it may be better to take away than to give.

How are restaurants recovering?

Nearly 100,000 restaurants are closed either permanently or for the long term — nearly 1 in 6, according to a new survey by the National Restaurant Association. Almost 4.5 million jobs still haven’t come back. Some restaurants have been able to get by on innovation, focusing on delivery, selling meal or cocktail kits, dining outside — though that option that will disappear in northern states as temperatures fall. But however you slice it, one analyst said, the United States will end the year with fewer restaurants than it began with. And it’s the larger chains that are more likely to survive.

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