by Wolf Richter
Nationally, visits to “places of commerce” remained anemic. Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Nashville, which had been near the top, plunged to the bottom.
The high-frequency index of people visiting “places of commerce,” designed to track the progress of the US consumer economy during the Pandemic, has inadvertently turned into a measure of just how hard Texas and other states in the south-western US were hit by the winter storm in mid-February.
The index by the American Enterprise Institute, relapsed today, counts the number of people, based on cellphone GPS data, visiting “places of commerce,” such as offices, stores, malls, restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, airports, hospitals, other places of commerce and other points of interest in the 40 largest metro areas, and compares the number of visitors in the current week (Feb 15 – Feb 21) to the week ended January 15, 2020.