Alaskans’ movements have changed dramatically with coronavirus fears, business closures and government mandates to stay home. Those movements are changing again, albeit gradually, as restrictions are lifted and some businesses reopen.
All of this is being tracked by our cellphones, and some of the market research companies that collect that anonymous phone tracking data have been offering it for free to social scientists trying to better understand how people have responded to the pandemic.
One of those researchers digging into the data is economist Mouhcine Guettabi with the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research. Guettabi spoke with Alaska Public Media’s Casey Grove about the data and what it’s showing us, including what it says about consumers returning to retail locations.