In the first five days of Level 2, consumer spending at shops is back to pre-Covid levels. But there are wide variations across segments, RNZ reported. Retailers are waiting to see whether the current level of spending is sustained, or if it is catchup spending from the lockdown.
Electricity use is back to normal, suggesting industries are back operating. But activity is likely still below normal. Businesses are cautious. Job advertising has improved to about 75% of normal. But job ad views are above the pre-Covid levels, suggesting there are more jobless looking for work. Those still hiring will have more choice.
Working from home is still apparent in upstream internet data, which is now 30% higher than pre-Covid, down from 90% in Level 4 and 75% in Level 3. Overall internet data use is back to normal, suggesting we may have exhausted all that online streaming.
Traffic congestion levels remain around 30% below normal; even lower in Auckland and Wellington. This confirms many continue to work from home, and there have been many job losses. MSD data show the pace of job losses have slowed (from over 6,000 per week to 1,606 in the week of 15 May). Although a new wave of job losses is expected to be coming, as the wage subsidy runs out and business adjust to the current economic reality.
Source: Sense Partners, 22 May 2020
Manu Caddie is Kaihautu of Innovation & Regulation at Rua Bioscience