Since it’s been a while, and the Department of Labor just revised the past few years of data, I thought we’d look at the latest on employment in NYC.
Seasonally adjusted employment ticked up to just over 4.1 million in NYC last month, the third straight monthly increase. A surge of virus cases at the end of last year led to some business closings and a loss of jobs in December, the only decline posted since April 2020.
Through March, NYC has regained 359,000, or 37%, of the jobs it lost due to the pandemic. By comparison, the U.S. has regained over 60% of its pre-COVID-19 employment. This discrepancy is certainly understandable, given how hard NYC was hit by the pandemic.
The leisure and hospitality sector continues to post the biggest job losses in NYC, with its employment 46.3% lower in March than a year ago. This is not surprising, as there are still severe restrictions for many businesses in this category. This sector alone accounts for 37% of the jobs lost in the city over the past year.
Many have forgotten that NYC had a lower unemployment rate (3.8%) than the nation (4.4%) right before the pandemic. That has changed dramatically over the past year, with the city’s March unemployment rate of 11.7% almost double the 6.0% national rate.
While the city’s recovery has greatly lagged behind the nation’s, there are signs this is changing. Many companies as well as the public sector are starting to bring people back to their offices. This will help support the economy, particularly restaurants, retail stores, and the MTA. And with vaccinations increasing at light speed, business restrictions will continue to loosen. This will all lead to stronger job growth in the months ahead.
As we reported in our 1Q21 Residential Market Reports, sales of apartments and houses are booming in the city at levels we haven’t seen in years. And in case you missed it, Wall Street bonuses increased 7% last year, to a whopping $31.7 billion.
These improvements should give everyone a reason to be optimistic that better days are coming fast to New York City.