Let me start with the good news: New York City has regained nearly one million jobs, 29.9% above its lowest pandemic level in April 2020. Total employment in NYC for June 2023 is reported to be 4,688,900, which represents an almost total job recovery of 99.56%. This is an incredible performance, especially given that New York State had the third largest number of job losses of states in the nation during the pandemic’s height.
New York City and State, the epicenter of the pandemic as it began, lost 948,000 and 1.98 million jobs, 20.3% and 20.4%, respectively, from February to April 2020. United States Bureau of Labor Statistics employment reports for the two-month drop showed a slightly lower drop for New York State at -19.4%, but using either agency’s measure, New York had the third largest drop among states in the nation, with Michigan first, for the two month period cumulatively at -23.3%, and Vermont second, at -20.5%. New York City’s private sector employment dropped 23% from February 2020 to April 2020, according to the New York City OMB seasonally adjusted employment data.
Employment recovery from the depths of the COVID pandemic is now nearly complete for New York City for both the private sector and total employment. Current employment statistics from the NY State Labor Department show total employment for the City in June 2023 and February 2020, the month before the lockdowns across the nation began. The New York City Office of Management and Budget provides a seasonal adjustment for the New York City private sector. Both agencies’ numbers are below:
|NYC TOTAL EMPLOYMENT||RECOVERY|
|NYC PRIVATE EMPLOYMENT|
Employment for the nation as a whole passed its February 2020 level one year ago in June 2022 and is now 3.8 million jobs, about 2.5%, ahead of the crash begun by COVID. Employment dropped by 22 million, or 14%, between February 2020 and April 2020, across the nation. New York State’s recovery as a whole is still nearly a percentage point behind New York City, as can be seen below in the table.
The following table presents employment data from the twelve largest states, from their pre-pandemic starting point in February 2020, to the peak COVID drop in April 2020, and their recoveries through June 2023. I added in New York City total employment and private employment, to see how the City recovery compares to other States, including coming back from the low point of April 2020:
|THE TWELVE LARGEST STATES|
|Feb-20||Apr-20||% Drop||Jun-23||% + Feb’20||% + A.2020|
|NY City Pvte. *||4,108,071||3,161,723||-23||4,107,485||0.00%||29.90%|
The table shows how New York City bottomed out at more than 20% job loss at the COVID peak drop, and 23% job loss in the private sector. With its nearly full recovery now, it means that its climb from the bottom was larger than all the states in the table with the exception of Michigan. The table also shows that from the April 2020 bottom, the City has regained nearly one million jobs, 29.9% above its level then. Michigan, which also lost 23% of its jobs in the COVID plunge, has recovered to its February 2020 level with job gains of 30% from its damaged economy in April 2020, a similar pace to the City.
The purpose here is not to show the City economy as rosy, or to suggest it is growing like a Sunbelt state. It is to put the City recovery in context; as the epicenter of the pandemic at its beginning, its lockdown plunge was nearly the deepest in the nation and it had much further to go to come back even to where it had been. The City has done that.