Research Special Topics

Signs of Progress: NYC’s Economic Recovery

December 2022

Overview

Indicators of New York City’s economic health are mixed heading into winter. Positive tourism-related trends include ongoing growth in leisure and hospitality employment, local airport traffic, and sales taxes. Unemployment and metro area inflation remain stubbornly high.

Key Statistics

Unemployment Rates

  • 5.9% unemployment rate in October, up from 5.6% in September.
  • During the three months ending October 2022, the labor force participation rate—or share of city residents aged 16 to 64 either working or actively looking for work—was 71.6%, up from 70.8% during the three months ending October 2019.

Employment

  • New York City added 13,300 private sector jobs in October.
  • Industries that added the most jobs:
    • Accommodation and food services: 9,600 jobs
    • Health care: 6,300 jobs
    • Arts, entertainment, and recreation: 2,200 jobs
  • The city’s accommodation and food services and arts and entertainment industries have recovered a combined 47,100 jobs in 2022 and are the only industries with double-digit employment growth.
    • Employment in these leisure and hospitality sectors is still 60,700 jobs, or 13%, below its pre-pandemic peak.
  • 3.99 million private sector jobs as of October 2022 — 117,000 fewer jobs (-2.8%) than the pre-pandemic peak of 4.11 million in February 2020.

Job Postings

  • New York City employers listed 252,200 job postings in October 2022, down 5% from 266,000 in September but up 10% from 230,100 in October 2019.
    • Employers tend to post fewer jobs during the fall and winter, historical data shows.
  • 80,500 new job postings in October 2022, concentrated in the professional services, health care, and administrative services sectors.
    • 9.8% of new job postings were for roles that could be filled by fully remote workers, up from 2.6% in October 2019.
    • The share of new job postings that could be filled by fully remote workers has increased gradually since May 2021 but less sharply than early in the pandemic.

Taxes

New York City sales tax collections totaled $789 million in October 2022, according to the State Comptroller’s office.

  • Up 17%—or $116 million—from $623 million in October 2021
  • Up 27%—or $168 million—from $577 million in October 2020
  • Up 20%—or $133 million—from $621 million in October 2019

Inflation

  • Inflation in the New York metropolitan statistical area (MSA) fell from 6.2% in September to 6% in October.
    • New York MSA inflation is lower than in the Chicago (7.7%) and Los Angeles (7.5%) MSAs and the U.S. city average (7.7%).

Tourism

  • 82.8% occupancy rate in New York City hotels for the four weeks ending November 19, down from 88.4% during the comparable period of 2019, according to data analytics firm STR.
    • Total demand for city hotel rooms was 7.9% lower than the same period pre-pandemic.
    • Note that temporary and permanent hotel room closures during the pandemic may affect comparisons of occupancy rates.
  • 305,900 average daily visitors to Times Square in October 2022, up 35% from October 2021 but down 17% from October 2019.
  • Broadway shows attracted 272,200 theatergoers and grossed $32 million in sales during the week ending November 13.
    • Attendance declined 7% from 292,500 during the same week in 2019 but up 27% from 214,700 during the same week in 2021.
    • Gross sales declined 11% from $37 million during the same week in 2019 but increased 26% from $26 million during the same week in 2021.

Transportation

Airports

Passenger volumes in New York City area airports — which includes JFK, EWR, LGA, and SWF (New York Stewart International) — reached 11.2 million in September 2022, down only 3% from 11.5 million in September 2019.

  • 3.6 million international travelers in September, down 16% from 4.4 million in September 2019.
  • 7.5 million domestic travelers September, up 6% from 7.1 million in September 2019.

Subway

New York City subway carried 3.38 million riders on the average weekday in November, down 38% from pre-pandemic.

Bus

Weekday bus ridership averaged 1.35 million in November, down 36% from pre-pandemic.

LIRR

The Long Island Rail Road carried 186,300 riders on the average weekday in November, down 33% from pre-pandemic.

Metro-North

Metro-North carried 168,500 riders on the average weekday in November, down 32% from pre-pandemic.

Bridges and Tunnels

917,400 vehicles traveled via MTA-operated bridges and tunnels on an average weekday in November, level with pre-pandemic traffic.

Fare Collection

  • Subway fare revenue totaled $1.9 billion in 2022 through October, down 37% from pre-pandemic levels but exceeding July 2022 estimates by $80 million, or 4%.
  • Bus (including local and express service) fare revenue was $641 million in 2022 through October, down 34% from pre-pandemic levels but exceeding July 2022 estimates by $29 million, or 5%.