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The key metrics of the current economy in New England shows a slight improvement. Trips for retail and recreation have improved by approximately 10% from two weeks ago. Trips to grocery and pharmacy stores have improved by 20% to 25% from two weeks ago. This is likely due to many people having to restock supplies after spending two weeks in isolation. Trips to parks continue to see large increases, especially in the densely populated states. Trips to workplaces remain at 40% below norms.

NH and ME have seen increases in traffic volumes of 6% and 6%, respectively, over the prior week. This is the result of many second homeowners relocating to these rural states and moving away from their congested primary home. Traffic volumes in CT are flat
The number of first time claims for unemployment declined in all states, except CT.
Connecticut’s first time claims were similar to the prior week, however, CT has the lowest unemployment rate in New England. The number of continued claims continues to increase, indicating that employers have not begun to recall workers. Rhode Island has the highest unemployment rate, estimated at 23.6%, followed by NH at 18.5%, MA at 17.0%, VT at 15.0%, ME at 14.5%, and CT at 11.8%.
Gasoline volumes are beginning to rebound. For the states where data is available week-over-week volumes are increasing. Massachusetts increased a modest 0.4%,
versus RI at 1.5%, NH at 2.6%, and CT at 3.6%. Nationally gasoline volumes increased by 5.3% from the prior week.Volumes are still 50% lower than a year ago. The slight
increases indicate that we have reached the bottom,future increases will be small until Governors begin reopening their states.

The daily number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has begun to decline in all states. VT
has been in decline for the past two weeks, the longest decline of any state in New England. The three northern New England state governors are collaborating with each other on when and how to reopen. Maine will begin reopening om May 1st. NH and VT have set May 15th as their target reopen date. The three southern New England states plus NY, NJ, DE, and PA are also working together on their reopening. Massachusetts has a target reopening date of May 18th. All reopening will be gradual and subject to continued testing, contact tracing, and monitoring of confirmed cases.

Please stay healthy and safe and be kind to others.