In some states that have already begun that process, like Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Alaska, the same daily economic data shows only meager signs so far that businesses, workers and consumers have returned to their old routines.
Georgia, for example, began to reopen in waves starting April 24, first with gyms, salons and tattoo parlors, and several days later with dine-in restaurants and movie theaters. But the share of small businesses operating and the hours worked in them budged little through the following week, according to data from companies that help firms manage business and track payrolls, or that aggregate credit card transactions. The share of small businesses open remained down about 30 percent from January.
“There’s just no evidence that this partial reopening in Georgia has significantly changed anything in the economy,” said John Friedman, an economist at Brown University and a co-director of Opportunity Insights, a Harvard-based organization that is publicly tracking economic data on the crisis from a number of private companies. Consumer spending data in Georgia has fluctuated up and down, but moving averages of the metric have remained about the same.