Research Special Topics

Signs of Progress: NYC’s Economic Recovery

May 2023


Subway and commuter rail ridership, regional airport travel, and private sector employment all reached their highest levels since spring 2020 in the first five months of 2023. On the other hand, job postings have fallen below pre-pandemic levels, suggesting some employer uncertainty about economic conditions.

Key Statistics


  • 5.4% unemployment rate in April, up from 5.3% in March.
  • 65,500 unemployed workers aged 16 to 24 in New York City as of April 2023, 54% higher than in April 2019.
  • The unemployment rates of Black (12.6%) and Hispanic (6.4%) New Yorkers are significantly higher than those of white (1.4%) or Asian (4.4%) New Yorkers as of Q1 2023.

Note: Monthly unemployment rates reflect seasonally adjusted data to enable more accurate comparisons between months; quarterly unemployment rates reflect three-month averages of non-adjusted data.


  • New York City employers cut 11,000 private sector jobs in April after adding 34,500 jobs in February and March, bringing citywide private sector employment to 4.08 million.
    • Private sector employment is down 24,900 jobs, or 0.6%, from February 2020.
  • The city’s arts and entertainment, hospitality, and retail industries—which accounted for 20% of private employment pre-pandemic—added 8,600 jobs in April and are down 70,100 jobs relative to February 2020.
  • Despite a loss of 2,300 jobs in April, financial services employment, which fell to a low of 337,000 in June 2021, has rebounded to 362,400 jobs as of April 2023.
    • Financial services employment is up 5%, or 13,000 jobs, from February 2020.

Job Postings

  • New York City job posting activity rebounded slightly in March and April after declining sharply since July 2022. Employers listed an average of 184,100 full-time job postings in the three months ending April 2023, down 16% from 219,200 in the three months ending March 2020.
  • In April, 9.5% of job postings were for roles that could be filled by fully remote workers, up from 2.6% in March 2020.


New York City sales tax collections totaled nearly $2.5 billion in Q1 2023.

  • Up 11%—or $252 million—from $2.2 billion in Q1 2022
  • Up 26%—or $509 million —from $2 billion in Q1 2019


  • Inflation in the New York metropolitan statistical area (MSA) fell to 3.7% in April 2023 from 4.6% in March.
    • New York MSA inflation is lower than the U.S. city average (4.9%).

Startup Pulse

  • New York City companies attracted $5.1 billion in venture capital (VC) funding in Q1 2023, less than the first quarters of 2022 ($8.8 billion) and 2021 ($9.6 billion) but up from 2020 ($3.8 billion).
  • The largest VC funding deals completed by New York City-based startups in Q1 2023 include:
    • $325 million for AlphaSense, a market intelligence platform
    • $300 million for Wiz, a cloud cybersecurity startup
    • $203 million for Paradigm, a platform that aims to diversify and accelerate clinical trials
    • $175 million for Amelia, an AI-driven enterprise communication platform
    • $155 million for BlocPower, a climate tech company focused on building electrification
    • $150 million for Hibob, a cloud-based human resources platform
  • Startups with all-female founder teams based in the New York metro area secured 923 VC funding deals between 2019 and Q1 2023, the most of any metro area.
    • The Bay Area was the second-most active metro for female-led startup dealmaking with 686 deals.
  • New York metro area startups posted over 49,000 job openings between January 2022 and March 2023, only 131 fewer than Bay Area startups, according to data from NGP Capital via Tech:NYC.
    • New York metro startups posted the highest share of fintech job openings of any metro (17% compared to the Bay Area’s 12%).

Gross City Product

  • Estimates of 2022 real gross city product growth range from 2% (Lightcast) to 6.5% (New York City Office of Management and Budget), which would bring 2022 GCP to $902-$942 billion.
  • New York City’s real gross city product (GCP) was $886 billion in 2021, up 1% from $879 billion in 2019.


  • 83.8% occupancy rate in New York City hotels for the four weeks ending May 6, down 6.3% from the comparable period in 2019, according to data analytics firm STR.
    • Total demand for city hotel rooms was 7.3% lower than the same period pre-pandemic.
    • Note: Temporary and permanent hotel room closures may affect comparisons of occupancy rates.
  • 315,300 average daily visitors to Times Square during the week ending May 14, down 14% from 368,100 during the equivalent week in 2019.
  • Broadway shows attracted 258,700 theatergoers and grossed $30 million in sales during the week ending May 7.
    • Both attendance and sales were down 18% from the equivalent week in the 2019 season.



Passenger volumes in New York City area airports—which includes JFK, EWR, LGA, and SWF (New York Stewart International)—reached 12.1 million in March 2023, up 3% from 11.7 million in March 2019.

  • 3.7 million international travelers in March, down 8% from March 2019
  • 8.5 million domestic travelers in March, up 10% from March 2019

In Q1 2023, 32 million passengers passed through New York City area airports, a first-quarter record and up 2% from the previous record of 31.1 million in Q1 2019.


New York City subway ridership surpassed 4.02 million on Wednesday, May 3, the most since March 12, 2020, when New York City declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19.


Weekday bus ridership averaged 1.47 million in May through May 10, down 33% from pre-pandemic.


The Long Island Rail Road carried 221,300 riders on Tuesday, May 9, the most since March 2020.

The Long Island Rail Road carried 201,000 customers on an average weekday in April, a pandemic-era record.


Metro-North carried 205,100 riders on May 9, the most since March 2020.

Metro-North carried 180,174 riders on an average weekday in April, the highest since March 2020.

Bridges and Tunnels

953,800 vehicles traveled via MTA-operated bridges and tunnels on the average weekday in May through May 10, down 1% from pre-pandemic.