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The Google mobility report had been one of our key metrics used to measure the rebound of the economy. Google has discontinued releasing this information. Apple is now providing similar data based on how users ask for directions using Apple Maps on their iPhone. Based on Apple’s data driving mobility was at its lowest level between March 30th through April 13th. Since that time driving mobility in all states is rebounding. Maine and NH are nearing the baseline set on January 13th. The other states are down 20% to 35%.

The three states that provide interstate highway traffic data indicate traffic volumes are off 54% (CT), 50% (NH), and 44% (ME). Traffic volumes have improved by 10% since mid-April.
The number of first-time claims for unemployment continues to decline in all states, except CT. Connecticut’s first-time claims increased by 68,758, a 200% increase over the prior week.
The number of continued claims continues to increase, indicating that employers have not begun to recall workers. Vermont has the highest insured unemployment rate, estimated at 21.2%, followed by CT at 18.5%, RI at 16.7%, NH at 14.4%, MA at 13.1%, and ME at 11.2%.
Gasoline volumes are continuing to rebound. For the states where data is available, week-over-week volumes continue to improve. Outlets in MA increased by 6.5%
from the prior week, NH outlets were up an average of 11.5%, RI had a small increase of 2.6%, and CT was up 5.2%. Nationally gasoline volumes increased by 5.2% from the prior week. Volumes are still 40% to 48% lower than a year ago. The volume increase corresponds well to increased driving mobility. I have had a number of discussions with different operators and all are reporting improved volumes, some have experienced dramatic improvement.

The daily number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to decline in all states. New cases in VT are averaging less than 10 per day. Maine, NH, and VT have each started to reopen segments of their economies. Maine has a four-stage process with the first three stages opening in May, June, and July. NH is the most aggressive with restricted retail openings on May 11 and outdoor dining on May 18. Vermont allowed manufacturing, construction, and distribution businesses with 10 or less employees to reopen. Full operations of these businesses can start on May 11th. The three southern New England states plus NY, NJ, DE, and PA are working together on their reopening. Massachusetts has a target reopening date of May 18th, CT is May 20th, and RI is May 8th. 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.