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New tool tracks COVID economic recovery in South Florida

New tool tracks COVID economic recovery in South Florida

February 8, 2021 at 9:00am

FIU researchers have developed a tool to track the local economy’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The monthly COVID Economic Recovery Index, developed by researchers at the FIU Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center, is aimed at assisting local policymakers and economic and community development officials in strategy and program development. The Metropolitan Center plans to roll out the index during a webinar on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021.
The index tracks key performance indicators at the county level against state and national statistics, in three categories essential for the recovery of the region: health, economy, and housing.
A score is given to each category based on the level of recovery out of a total of 100 points - a higher score indicates a more positive recovery. The health indicator tracks infection rates, death rates, and vaccination rates. The economy category tracks job loss/gain, wages, monthly job postings, first-time unemployment insurance claimants, and the unemployment rate. The housing category tracks sales activity, evictions, and foreclosures.
“The impact of COVID-19 on our region is unprecedented,” said Ned Murray, associate director of the Jorge M. Pérez FIU Metropolitan Center. “We hope to quantify the impact of the pandemic through this index and guide policymakers in their decisions during the economic recovery.”
The index is currently focused on Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties. All three counties experienced major economic declines in April and July due first to the initial economic shock and then the escalating number of COVID-19 cases in Florida during the summer. The most recent spike in infections has halted modest improvements in the economy, triggering an index drop of more than 20 points since October across the tri-county area.
The plan is to extend the index to other major counties in Florida.
The COVID-19 Economic Recovery Index will be supplemented by a quarterly “COVID-19 Economic Recovery: Behind the Numbers” series which will provide readers with a deep dive analysis and narrative on employment figures, industry sectors and housing market trends. The first quarterly report will be published in April.