Although the recession that began in March 2020, triggered by COVID-19, was short and steep, its impact was still being felt in the U.S. office market through the fourth quarter. After economic activity had collapsed at a record pace in Q2, it rebounded almost as sharply in Q3. By the fourth quarter, the pace of recovery had slowed some, and by most measures, economic performance was still below pre-recession levels. Although optimism that the economy would recover improved during the quarter as effective vaccines were approved and began to be distributed, the number of new COVID-19 cases continued to rise and occupiers continued to shed space, pushing up vacancy. In addition, the amount of sublease space on the market had risen sharply—a phenomenon which has put downward pressure on rents in the past.