Research Special Topics

New York City COVID-19 Economic Impact Update

June 2020


The Partnership has compiled recent statistics to inform our members of the city’s economic standing as the city begins to recover from COVID-19. This information reflects both the challenges and the need for business leadership and renewed commitment to secure the city’s future.

Key Statistics

COVID-19 Cases

  • New York City accounts for 5% of US cases and 16% of US deaths, as of data released Sunday, August 2 at 11 p.m.
  • NYC accounts for 1% of global cases and 4% of global deaths.

Unemployment Rates, June

  • NYC: 20.4% unemployment rate
  • NYS: 15.7% unemployment rate
  • US: 11.1% unemployment rate.

County rates:

  • Bronx: 24.7% unemployment rate
  • Kings: 20.5% unemployment rate
  • New York: 16.0% unemployment rate.
  • Queens: 21.8% unemployment rate
  • Richmond: 18.1% unemployment rate

Note: Data are preliminary and subject to revision. County unemployment rates are non-seasonally adjusted, all other data is seasonally adjusted.

Unemployment Claims

  • 46,185 initial unemployment claims filed during the week ending July 25.
    • Minimal change from 46,205 claims filed during the preceding week.
    • City weekly initial unemployment claims have hovered around 45,000 claims since the week ending May 30.
  • 1.56 million unemployment claims filed in New York City between March 8 and July 25.
    • Up 1,131%% from 126,924 claims filed during the same period in 2019.
  • 84% of unemployment claims have been filed by residents of the outer boroughs.

Additional Notes

From an IBO report:

  • IBO expects a $9.5 billion revenue shortfall in fiscal years 2020 and 2021; the De Blasio administration estimates the shortfall will be $7.4 billion over the same period.
  • IBO projects city unemployment rate will average 9.8% in 2020 and 10.9% in 2021, more than twice as high as the average rate of 4.0% in 2019.
  • Unemployment rate projected to average 5.5% in 2024, still exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
  • Hotel tax revenues forecasted to decline 24% from FY 2019 to $479 million in FY 2020; hotel tax receipts are projected to remain below pre-pandemic collections until at least FY 2025.

According to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s July business survey:

  • 28% of Brooklyn businesses missed their commercial rent payment in July, down slightly from 35% in June.
  • 60% of businesses said they still need PPE.
  • 84% of businesses say grants are “very important,” 74% say the same about rent relief.

From a Citizen’s Budget Commission report:

  • Following the 2008 recession, the number of NYC full-time and full-time equivalent personnel decreased 5% from a previous high of 311,018 in FY 2008 to 293,550 in fiscal year 2012.
  • Since the trough in municipal employment in FY 2012, employment grew 11% to reach an all-time high of 326,739 at the end of fiscal year 2019.
  • City government has implemented a partial hiring freeze; however, the Executive Budget does not project a multiyear headcount reduction.

According to the city’s database of businesses that have been issued a license so that they may legally operate in NYC:

  • Only 308 new business licenses were issued in the city in Q2 2020, the fewest since Q2 1995.
    • Down 89% from 2,694 new licenses during Q2 2019 last year.
  • 136 new licenses have been issued so far in July 2020, more than in each of the three preceding months.
    • The increase in July was driven by new licenses for electronics and secondhand stores, stoop line stands and debt collection agencies.

Per the IBO’s COVID-19 city spending tracker:

  • The city has spent $2.72 billion on combatting COVID-19 since March 10, 2020, primarily on healthcare supplies and food and clothing.
  • The Department of Citywide Administrative Services’ COVID-19-related expenses are $1.16 billion, by the far largest spending amount of city agencies.

Note: Spending data only includes agencies in the city’s financial management system. Data excludes spending by organizations such as New York City Health + Hospitals, NYC Transit, and New York City Housing Authority and does not include personal services expenses.