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When Might Activity in the Major Cities Recover?

Thursday July 8, 2021

Economic recovery of the major cities

Urban economies have been disproportionately impacted by lockdowns, travel restrictions, and the change in work. When might activity in the major financial centers recover?


In a new article, Bloomberg provides a deep-dive into the current situation in Frankfurt, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, and San Francisco.


A few notable findings:


1. Workplace activity in some cities is still about 50% below pre-pandemic levels.

2. Inverse correlation between vaccine uptake and workplace activity.

San Francisco has the highest vaccine uptake (70%+), but the biggest drop in activity (61%)

Hong Kong has the lowest vaccine uptake (27%), but the smallest drop in activity (-13%)

3. Road traffic and public transportation use have started to rebound but are still far from pre-pandemic levels.

4. Available office-space square-footage in some cities is the highest since the early-2000s.

5. Some cities (e.g., Singapore) have to expand restrictions again due to the spread of new COVID variants.





Workplace activity in Frankfurt

– -17% Workplace activity

– 38% Vaccine uptake

– <50% Passengers at Frankfurt airport compared to pre-crisis level.





Economic recovery of the major cities- Workplace activity in London

– -40% Workplace activity

– 55% Vaccine uptake

– ~50% Busier work week traffic in the Square Mile compared to July 2020



Hong Kong


Workplace activity in Hong Kong

– -13% Workplace activity

– 27% Vaccine uptake

– 73% Average daily passengers on the major railway routes compared to 2019.





Workplace activity in Singapore

– -33% Workplace activity

– 47% Vaccine uptake

– 9.8% Vacancy rate for top-flight offices.



New York


Workplace activity in New York

54% Workplace activity

54% Vaccine uptake

– 22M Manhattan’s available office-space square footage — highest since 2003.



San Francisco


Economic recovery of the major cities - Workplace activity in San Francisco

– -61% Workplace activity

– 73% Vaccine uptake

– 9M Square feet of office space is up for sublease — highest since 2005.



While the economic recovery of the major cities varies across cities and even companies, new baselines of activity may emerge as the world adjusts. 


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