Working Paper

Mobility and Engagement Following the SARS-Cov-2 Outbreak

Abstract: We develop a Mobility and Engagement Index (MEI) based on a range of mobility metrics from Safegraph geolocation data, and validate the index with mobility data from Google and Unacast. We construct MEIs at the county, MSA, state and nationwide level, and link these measures to indicators of economic activity. According to our measures, the bulk of sheltering-in-place and social disengagement occurred during the week of March 15 and simultaneously across the U.S. At the national peak of the decline in mobility in early April, localities that engaged in a 10% larger decrease in mobility than average saw an additional 0.6% of their populations claiming unemployment insurance, an additional 2.8 percentage point reduction in small businesses employment, an additional 2.6 percentage point increase in small business closures, and an additional 3.2 percentage point reduction in new-business applications. A gradual and broad-based resumption of mobility and engagement started in the third week of April.

Keywords: Social Distancing and Economic Activity; Location Data; COVID-19; Social Distancing Index; SARS-Cov-2;

JEL Classification: C15; E66; R11; R19;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Part of Series: Working Papers

Publication Date: 2020-05-21

Number: 2014

Note: June 2020: new title. A previous version of this paper was circulated under the title, Social Distancing Following the SARS-Cov-2 Outbreak.