This report is a summary of third-party economic research and perspectives to foster communication with business and economic development stakeholders during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Global: Pfizer and BioNTech announced their coronavirus vaccine candidate had an efficacy rate above 90%, at 7 days after the second dose
- U.S.: Total U.S. sublease office space hit roughly 157M square feet, the highest level since 2005.
- Ohio: Both Columbus and Cincinnati are listed in the top 50 best places for veterans to live.
Earlier this week drug companies Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech announced their COVID-19 vaccine was 90% effective in trials among those without evidence of prior infection. U.S. stock futures skyrocketed on the news with the Dow Jones Industrial Average at one point having surged 1,646 points. Airline and cruise company stocks jumped in premarket trading as well, with some stocks rising by 20–30%.
Global COVID-19 cases topped 51M this week, with nearly 1.3M people having died from infection. Italy has declared seven “orange zones” with tighter restrictions including closures of bars, restaurants, and nonessential shops. British employers laid off record workers in Q3 2020 and the jobless rate jumped. Despite this, the UK saw record GDP growth of 15.5% in July to September. The global shipping industry has played a vital role in the global response to the pandemic, and demand for its services has limited the annual decline in maritime trade volumes to around 4.1% in 2020, UNCTAD said.
Initial claims for jobless benefits declined to 709,000 last week from 757,000 a week earlier. While weekly claims have fallen from a peak of near 7M at the end of March, they remain well above levels of about 200,000 seen before the coronavirus hit. The consumer-price index was unchanged in October from September. Federal Reserve Chairman Powell said it was too soon to assess how vaccine progress would influence the U.S. economy, particularly given that increases in infection cases could weaken the recent economic recovery. Several Fed officials have spoken regarding the importance of assessing the financial risks from climate change. The U.S. surpassed 1M new confirmed cases in just the first 10 days of November amid a nationwide surge of infections, as states consider and impose new restrictions. New York has moved to tighten restrictions on social gatherings. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said the pandemic has resulted in ‘unimaginable’ restrictions on individual liberty and that the, “covid crisis has served as sort of a constitutional stress test.”
Corporate office tenants put a record 42M square feet of space on the office market in Q2 and Q3, which increased the total sublease space in the U.S. to roughly 157M square feet, or 1.7% of the total office inventory. Mall landlords are starting to seek bankruptcy protection or shutting down. Though millions of Americans are still struggling to pay rent and at risk of eviction, big companies that own single-family homes are raising rents at the fastest rate since they emerged from last decade’s foreclosure crisis, capitalizing on a rush for suburban housing. In fact, prices for single-family homes increased 12% in the third quarter, the biggest annual jump in seven years. New FCC data shows growing number of Americans with access to quality broadband.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings continue to rise through Q3 2020 and have hit the highest level since 2010. This trend is expected to continue through 2021. The Association of American Railroads shows U.S. weekly rail traffic up 1.3% compared with the same week last year. Grain, chemicals, and farm products (excluding grain) posted the three increases in commodity groups, whereas coal posted the largest commodity decline. U.S. pork exports to China have skyrocketed this year as African Swine Fever (ASF) eroded two-thirds of China’s hog herd and drove its hog prices to record highs. Greater China now accounts for nearly 8% of U.S. pork production, compared to around just 2% in 2018.
Both Columbus and Cincinnati ranked in the Top 50 Places for Veterans to Live by Wallethub. Cleveland’s Health-Tech Corridor is advancing equity through a new kind of anchor institution. Columbus ranked #14 on CompTIA’s Tech Town Index which provides guidance to tech workers on where opportunity intersects with affordability and quality of life. Industrial real estate around Rickenbacker Airport continues to expand significantly. Cincinnati decreased its wage tax rate to 1.8% from 2.1%, effective October 2.
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