Like many property types, seniors housing investment returns fell in the second quarter of 2020 as the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the utter collapse of the economy took their toll. The total investment return for the seniors housing sector was a negative 1.00% in the second quarter of 2020, the first negative return since 2Q 2012.
A recent study from North Carolina State University and Georgia Tech found that healthcare workers in the United States are struggling with significant mental-health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, including depression, anxiety, and insomnia. While all healthcare workers are at risk, one key feature of caregivers in a seniors housing and care setting is that many of these caregivers have spent months, if not years, developing relationships with the residents they serve and their families. This means the emotional toll experienced by these staff may be that much more overwhelming.
Contact tracing has emerged as a first-line defense at senior living communities in the fight against the pandemic. Knowing who has tested positive for COVID-19 and being able to identify their contacts has helped to keep community outbreaks in check.
The Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls rose by 1.8 million in July and that the unemployment rate fell to 10.2%. This suggests that the employment recovery from the unprecedented COVID-related drop in March and April continues to reverse course, although the pace of recovery appears to be slowing. The 1.8 million job gain in July was less than the increases of 4.8 million in June and 2.7 million in May. Combined, 9.3 million jobs were generated in May, June and July, recouping some of the 22.2 million jobs lost in March and April. Nevertheless, the July level of employment was lower than its February level by 12.9 million positions or by 8.4%. While the July improvement is welcome news, the labor market continues to be strained and the recent spike in the virus across many states could hamper further gains. Indeed, some states are backtracking plans to reopen as coronavirus infections are rising again.