2. How COVID-19 changed mobility in different states
Americans in most states are moving at nearly the same level as, and sometimes even more than, before the pandemic-compelled lockdowns across the U.S., Axios' Sara Wise and Amy Harder report.
Driving the news: Mobility data from Descartes Labs shows the vast swing in American movement over the last four months.
Why it matters: Tracking mobility habits sheds light on many aspects of our society, including economic indicators like gasoline demand and levels of local pollution.
By the numbers: Gas prices averaged $2.18 a gallon, the cheapest for Independence Day weekend in at least a decade, per an RBC Capital Markets note Tuesday.
The intrigue: People in largely rural, Western states — including Montana, the Dakotas and Wyoming — are actually moving around more than they did right before lockdowns, data shows.
- Of note: That's to be expected in the summer months, but given the coronavirus, it also shows the relative increase compared to other states.
- Meanwhile, mobility in Southern states and some in the West didn’t drop nearly as much as their coastal counterparts, reflecting a political trend with liberal-leaning states locking down more aggressively and earlier than conservative-leaning ones.
How it works: Descartes Labs, a data sciences firm based in Sante Fe, New Mexico, uses what it calls “de-identified commercially available geolocation data” to develop its mobility index, which is what we’ve charted here.
- They receive data from commercial data partners regarding mobile phone applications that maintain appropriate consents, approvals and/or opt-ins.
Yes, but: As the virus increases its spread in numerous states and governors consider partially locking down again, mobility could tick back down.
What we’re watching: RBC Capital Markets said its real-time indicators “suggest a slowing degree of traffic activity this past weekend.”