The Recovery Index

In September 2021 the Recovery Index increased to 55% relative to pre-pandemic times.

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Finder's Recovery Index as of September 2021

Overall Recovery





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Measuring recovery

The Recovery Index compares life today to pre-pandemic times to measure how 'normal' our current lifestyles are. The index aims to illustrate the extent to which the pandemic turned everyday life upside down, and track recovery from an economic and societal perspective.

The index uses data from years 2017 to 2019 as a baseline for normality. A score of 100 indicates normal circumstances, while anything below it is considered abnormal.

Defining 'normal'

Normal is a term that can be both broad and loaded, so defining what exactly to measure was important. When we considered the aspects of life most impacted by the pandemic, four key areas came to mind: travel, civilian movement (transport), leisure and consumption, and the economy. We measured each of these using the data below.

The Recovery Index in Australia

As of September 2021, Australia is operating at 55% normalcy. This remains slightly higher than its lowest level of 46% in April 2020.

In April 2021 the Recovery Index peaked for the first time since March 2020, reaching 73%. At this time, there were no lockdowns and most Australians were able to travel domestically. Since then the index has continued to fall, driven by virus outbreaks and lockdowns across the country.

Recovery Index by category

Unsurprisingly, travel is the category the furthest away from recovery, with an index score of 24% as of September 2021. While domestic travel did begin to return in the early months of 2021, it soon plummeted as virus outbreaks across the country caused state borders to close.

On the other hand, the economy is outperforming the other categories, with an index score of 75% as of September 2021. However, this has fallen in recent months and it is likely we will see more of the economic impact of the most recent lockdowns in the months to come.

Recovery Index by city

As of September 2021, Perth has achieved the highest level of recovery, with an index score of 83%. This is followed by Brisbane, with a score of 78%. On the other hand, Sydney's Recovery Index score is 46%, which is not surprising given the city was experiencing on of the largest virus outbreaks in Australia since the pandemic began.

The data also shows that the cities which have experienced longer lockdowns (i.e. Melbourne and Sydney) have lower index scores during their lockdown periods (both 47%) than those who have tended to have snap lockdowns only (i.e. Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth). This is likely because short lockdowns have minimal economic impact compared to those that endure for months.

Outside of lockdown periods, Adelaide and Brisbane (both 75%) are the cities which have reached the closest to recovery.

Recovery Index by city and category

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