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Latest job statistics show painful recovery in New York

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The Big Apple added jobs at an agonizingly slow pace last month as it struggles to cope with a drop of around 300,000 people in its workforce since the pandemic, worrying new data reveals.

The city’s recent unemployment rate has also reached around 6% – nearly double the national level – with minorities suffering the most, according to a study just released by The New School.

“Race and ethnicity strongly influenced the divergent economic fates of the pandemic, with black and Latino unemployment rates twice or more than those of white workers,” the researchers wrote — noting the “uneven economic impact of the pandemic on workers across New York who can least afford it. .”

The latest employment numbers show the city added 13,500 jobs in December. But the number still leaves Gotham about 12% below its pre-pandemic level, according to an analysis by The City.

The dismal economic indicators only seem to reinforce warnings from the Big Apple and state officials that the local workforce will not fully regain its pre-pandemic strength for a few more years.

“New York City was hit early, it’s been hit the hardest, we’ve had some of the strictest COVID mandates, and because we’re so reliant on office workers, tourists and temp workers, we’ve had additional struggles,” Andrew Rigie, head of New York City Hospitality Alliance told The Post on Friday.

Passengers enter a subway station in New York.
New York City created jobs at an excruciatingly slow pace last month.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

“It’s scary,” he said. “Accommodation and food services are still low – almost 50,000 jobs are still short compared to pre-pandemic levels – that’s the size of a small town!”

New York City lost a total of nearly 1 million jobs in March and April 2020, with the biggest drain taking place in Manhattan. The Big Apple currently has just over 4 million workers.

According to the study released by James Parrott, director of Economic and Fiscal Policy for New York City Affairs at The New School, “job losses in the city in the fall of 2022 — two and a half years after the start of the pandemic — stem primarily from declining employment in face-to-face sectors with lower wages, more immediately affected by public health business constraints, and subject to the lingering effects of changing commuting patterns and hybrid working.”

The Big Apple’s own government workforce has taken a noticeable hit, suffering its biggest headcount decline, or 6.4%, since “the Great Recession of 2008,” said a report released late last year by the comptroller’s office. municipal Tom DiNapoli.

The Mayor’s Budget Office said it doesn’t expect the city to reach its pre-COVID employment level until the end of 2024. Governor Kathy Hochul has been even more skeptical, predicting last summer that it could take as long as 2026.

The hardest-hit urban industries continue to be hospitality, retail and construction, while warehouses have seen the best recovery, the study said.

Vijay Dandapani, president and CEO of the New York City Hotel Association, lamented that his industry still has 13,000 lost jobs.

That’s “about 42,000 compared to nearly 55,000 across the entire pre-Covid hotel industry,” he told The Post via text message on Friday.

Furthermore, “We still have 11,000 rooms closed, which is why we are behind our main competitor cities: London and Paris,” wrote Dandapani.

A “Help Wanted” sign is posted at Tito's barbecue station.
NYC is still struggling to cope with a drop of about 300,000 people in its workforce since the pandemic, according to reports.
James Kevin

“Closed hotel rooms in New York, when combined with rooms occupied by migrants, etc.” the country of Mexico.

Queens Chamber of Commerce President Tom Grech said residents of his neighborhood are struggling financially because many of them work in foodservice and retail, both sectors hit hard by white-collar job losses and work-at-home policies. House.

The average office occupancy rate at least increased after the holidays to about 47%, around what it was before December, the city said. But it doesn’t look like that number is going to go up anytime soon.

“It’s a vicious cycle,” Grech said of the relationship between retail and office workers when things go wrong.

Grech said city agencies such as Buildings, Environmental Protection and Health have not helped the situation by being slow to provide licenses and other approvals to businesses that could boost the economy.

“The world is not waiting for municipal agencies to act together. People are getting job offers from other states, from the south,” said Grech.

The study’s researchers said the main reason for the city’s workforce decline is people moving “to the suburbs, upstate or elsewhere.”

As the Post reported on Thursday, more New Yorkers fled to Florida last year than in any other year in history.

Penn Station, entrance.
New York City was the nation’s metro area hardest hit by the pandemic and lost a total of nearly 1 million jobs in March and April 2020.
Roberto Miller

The study said there is currently a “reshuffle” in the city’s job market “similar to a game of musical chairs in real life” – and minorities are the ones left without a seat.

“Employer job demands and expectations are changing, and many workers are moving from one employer to another, yet tens of thousands of low-income workers, including many of them black, Latino, young and less educated, remain unemployed when music plays. for. ”, said the researchers.

The Big Apple’s unemployment rate of 6.1% in the third quarter of 2022 was nearly double the country’s overall count of 3.5%, the study said. In recent years, the two numbers have roughly aligned, the researchers said.

The 6.1% number was also a big jump from what it had been in the Big Apple in the first quarter of 2020, or pre-pandemic, when the rate was 3.7%.

The Big Apple's unemployment rate continued to rise last month, being 1.6% higher than the overall state, according to new reports.
The Big Apple’s unemployment rate continued to rise last month, being 1.6% higher than the overall state, according to new reports.

The city’s black residents suffered the highest unemployment rate among people of color, or 9.8%, in the third quarter of last year, according to the study and Gothamist. That number is up from 5.6% before the pandemic.

The unemployment rate for the city’s Hispanics hit 7.5%, and Asians and all other residents saw their collective number rise to 5.3%, up 5.7% and 2.6% respectively.

These stats compare to 3.5% of whites, which was at 2% before the pandemic.
The less educated are also suffering at a higher rate than others, the study said.
People with no more than a high school diploma were 25% more likely to lose their jobs during the pandemic, statistics show.

Rigie was hopeful on the unemployment front.

“With the city’s high unemployment rate, there may still be an opportunity to train people,” he said.

“The restaurant and nightlife industry is not a career for some people, but it is a way to earn money while chasing their dreams or studying.”

But Grech said that until the ailing national economy improves as well, it’s hard to see the financial picture improving much for New Yorkers.

“Inflationary pressures were felt strongly in New York,” he said.

“Seven dollars for a carton of eggs. There is a limit to what people can charge for eggs. It bodes ill for the economy.”

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