Hello! I hope that you and your families are all staying safe and healthy. Last week I published a blog post regarding the inclusion of COVID-19 cases into the TAS Platform. That dataset is already being leveraged by our existing clients to understand how their store fleets are positioned relative to the COVID-19 cases. The positive feedback we received from our clients about having access to this data prompted us to think about what else we can do to support them in this very trying time.
As we all know, especially in the retail and service industries, an unfortunate side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is the tremendous increase in unemployment. Applied Geographic Solutions (AGS), a long-term partner of TAS that supplies demographics, crime data, and many additional data sets, has recently made available a data set on unemployment trends. The data set is being offered free of charge and is being updated on a weekly basis. This data is now available within TAS for all users and covers all standard US census geographies down to the blockgroup.
This data set will allow you to understand if the people living within the trade areas of your stores/shopping centers are at a higher risk of being unemployed than the metro area as a whole. This can drive decisions such as messaging of marketing material and individual store pricing adjustments. In addition, it can be used to compare your property portfolio to that of your peers to see if you are over/under exposed to unemployment risk.
For our users licensed for demographics: Next time you log into TAS Online or Mobile, you will find a new demographic report, AGS: Unemployment, and two themes, AGS: % Unemployment and AGS: Unemployment 14 Day Change. Below are examples of the themes and report:
The primary sources AGS used to model this data are:
- AGS estimates and projections, 19B (July 1, 2019) release, including estimates of employment by occupation and industry
- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) detailed labor force by occupation tables
- Monthly labor force publications which provide detailed unemployment estimates by state and major metropolitan areas
- Weekly BLS unemployment insurance claim reports, which are released on Friday of each week covering the week ending the previous Saturday. These are both national and by state.
Please note this data can be volatile from week to week. The labor force data released each week is labeled as “preliminary” and is subject to some revision the following week. For example, the March 28 report showed 878,727 new claims for California, and this figure was revised substantially in the April 4 release to 1,058,325! It is vital that users recognize that in most weeks, we anticipate that the data for the previous week will be modified. However, given the unemployment trend that is currently happening we feel it is important for our clients to have access to the very latest data. When used at the smaller levels of census geographies just make sure you understand that the data should be viewed as directional and not an exact amount.
If you have any questions related to this data set, please feel free to reach out to me directly.