Research Special Topics

Signs of Progress: NYC’s Economic Recovery

April 2022

Overview

The city’s economy is gaining momentum as tourism, transit ridership, and employment have rebounded after stagnating during the spread of the omicron variant. City sales tax collections through January exceeded expectations by $1.6 billion.

Key Statistics

Unemployment Rates

  • 7% unemployment rate in February, down from 7.6% in January and a peak of 21% in May 2020.
  • 277,549 unemployed city residents in February 2022.
  • 70,400 city residents received unemployment insurance benefits in February, down 13% from 81,100 in January and the fewest since February 2020.
    • In 2019, there was an average of 62,700 monthly beneficiaries.
  • 69.6% of city residents aged 16 to 64 were either working or actively looking for work during the three months ending February 2022, down slightly from 70.6% during the same period in 2019.

 

Employment

  • New York City added 25,300 private sector jobs in February, the largest monthly jobs gain since October 2021.
  • Industries with the largest employment growth from January to February include:
    • Construction: 4% increase
    • Real estate: 2% increase
    • Administrative services: 2% increase
  • As of February 2022, the city has recovered 647,100 jobs, or 71% of the 909,300 private sector jobs lost during the early months of the pandemic.
    • 3.82 million private sector jobs as of February 2022, down 262,200 jobs (6%) from the pre-pandemic peak of 4.09 million in February 2020.

 

Job Postings

  • New York City employers had listings for 227,765 job postings in February 2022, up 4% from 219,617 in January and up 9% from 209,795 in February 2020.
    • 10.6% of postings were for roles that could be filled by fully remote workers, up from 3.1% in February 2020.
  • Professional services, administrative services, health care, financial services and information had the greatest number of job postings.

 

Employee Sentiment

  • 84% of employees say conditions in the city have worsened since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a Partnership survey of over 9,300 employees conducted by Morning Consult.
    • Despite these concerns, 72% of employees express a commitment to New York City and want to be part of its recovery.
  • 94% say not enough is being done to address homelessness and mental illness in the city.
  • 74% of public transit commuters say safety on transit has gotten worse since the beginning of the pandemic.

 

Venture Capital

  • New York City-based startups raised $49 billion in venture capital (VC) funding in 2021, more than double previous record of $23 billion in 2019 and nearly triple the amount raised in 2020 ($17 billion), according to Pitchbook.
  • $13.5 billion was raised in Q4 2021. The largest funding rounds secured by New York City-based companies in Q4 include:
    • $750 million raised by fintech company Better.com
    • $500 million raised by food delivery platform Wonder
    • $475 million raised by market research startup YipitData.

 

Taxes

  • The city has raised its fiscal year (FY) 2022 tax revenue forecast by $1.7 billion since last June as tax collections from all major sources have been stronger than expected.
  • FY 2022 tax collections through January 2022 are $1.6 billion higher than the city projected in November 2021 and 4% higher than the same period in FY 2021, according to the City Comptroller’s office.
  • Better than expected city tax collections through January compared to November projections include:
    • Sales: $442 million, or 29%, above projections
    • Real estate transactions: $419 million, or 95%, above projections
    • Personal income: $412 million, or 8%, above projections
  • New York City sales tax collections totaled $7.9 billion in 2021, up 19% from $6.7 billion in 2020 and down only 4% from $8.2 billion in 2019.
    • Q4 2021 collections exceeded Q4 2019 sales tax collections by 3%, or $63 million.

Tourism

  • 67.7% occupancy rate in New York City hotels during the week ending March 12, up from a recent low of 39.8% during the week ending January 15.
  • Broadway shows attracted 196,039 theatregoers and grossed $26.7 million in sales during the week ending March 20.
    • Attendance was down 34% from 298,672 during the same week in 2019 and gross sales declined 22% from $34.2 billion.
  • 204,959 average daily visitors to Times Square in February 2022, up 128% from 2021 but down 38% from February 2020.

Business Licenses

  • 318 business licenses were issued in February 2022, up 42% from February 2021 but down 20% from February 2020.

MTA Ridership

Subway

Weekday subway ridership averaged 3.22 million during the week ending March 18, down 42% from pre-pandemic.

Bus

Weekday bus ridership averaged 1.42 million during the week ending March 18, down 37% from pre-pandemic.

LIRR

The Long Island Rail Road carried 158,200 customers on February 28, down 46% from pre-pandemic but the highest total since December 1, 2021, before the omicron surge.

Metro-North

Metro-North ridership surpassed 148,200 customers on February 28, the highest total since 201,400 on March 31, 2020, but down 44% from pre-pandemic.

Bridges and Tunnels

Vehicles traveling via MTA-operated bridges and tunnels on weekdays averaged 913,000 during the week ending March 18, level with pre-pandemic traffic.