Research Special Topics

Signs of Progress: NYC’s Economic Recovery

July 2021

Overview

Economic activity in the city has increased following the lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions on June 15. Positive signs include higher-than-expected tax revenues, pre-pandemic levels of business formation, renewed hiring in the city’s arts sector and a trend toward pre-pandemic domestic migration patterns. A persistent skills gap and muted citywide job gains continue to hamper the city’s recovery.

Key Statistics

Unemployment Rates, June

  • NYC: 10.6%, down from 10.9% in May
  • NYS: 7.7%, down from 7.8% in May
  • US: 5.9%, up from 5.8% in May


Employment

  • New York City added 33,500 private sector jobs in June.
  • Industries with the largest employment growth from May to June include:
    • Arts, entertainment and recreation: 21% increase
    • Accommodation and food services: 3% increase
    • Administrative services: 3% increase
  • As of June 2021, the city has recovered 46% of the 922,200 private sector jobs lost during the early months of the pandemic; private sector employment is 12% below February 2020 levels.

Note: Data reflects updated data from the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget, which modified the methodology used to seasonally adjust monthly employment estimates.

Unemployment

  • 431,193 unemployed city residents in June 2021.
  • 178,700 regular unemployment insurance beneficiaries in June, down slightly from May and the fewest since March 2020.
    • In 2019, there was an average of 62,700 monthly beneficiaries.

Job Postings

  • 374,200 job postings in June 2021, up 3% from 363,400 in May 2021 and a new record high since data reporting began in Sept. 2016.
  • Professional services, administrative services, health care and financial services had the greatest number of job postings in June.

Migration

  • New York City’s monthly net outmigration continues to decrease, a trend that began in September 2020. In June 2021, net outmigration was only 3,600 households above pre-pandemic levels.

Notes:

  1. Data covers USPS change of address (COA) requests categorized as made by an individual or family; data includes both permanent and temporary COA requests; analysis assumes intra-city moves categorized as net zero outmigration; data likely excludes or under-represents foreign migration, a significant component of New York City’s population change.
  2. January and February 2020 were essentially flat compared to previous years, with slightly higher losses of 100 and 300 households respectively.

City Finances

  • Tax collections in fiscal year (FY) 2021, which ended June 30, 2021, totaled $64.5 billion, up 10% from the $58.6 billion projected in the budget adopted June 2020.
    • Personal income tax collections totaled $14.98 billion—$3.31 billion, or 28%, above June 2020 estimates and a record high.
    • Corporation taxes total $4.82 billion—$1.67 billion, or 53%, above June 2020 estimates.
  • New York City’s adopted $98.7 billion FY 2022 budget reversed the city’s hiring and attrition management savings plan and increased the authorized municipal headcount for FY 2022 to 337,294—nearly the highest ever, according to the Citizens Budget Commission.

Business Licenses

  • 459 business licenses were issued in June, up nearly fourfold from June 2020 and up 4% from June 2019.

Note: Includes licenses issued by the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection.

MTA Ridership
Subway

  • After increasing each month since January, average weekday subway ridership dipped from 2.39 million in June 2021 to 2.33 million through the first three weeks of July.
    • Weekday ridership is down 54% from pre-pandemic levels as of the week ending July 16.

Bus

  • Average weekday bus ridership declined from 1.21 million in June 2021 to 1.15 million through the first three weeks of July.
    • Weekday ridership is down 42% from pre-pandemic levels as of the week ending July 16.

LIRR

  • Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) weekday ridership averaged 118,000 through the first three weeks of July, the highest since the onset of the pandemic but down 55% from pre-pandemic levels.

Metro-North

  • Metro-North ridership averaged 96,500 during the first three months of July, the highest since the onset of the pandemic but down 63% from pre-pandemic levels.

Bridges and Tunnels

  • Vehicles traveling via MTA-operated bridges and tunnels on weekdays averaged 911,900 in the first three weeks of July, down slightly from 931,000 in June but only 2% below pre-pandemic levels.

Transit Fare Collection

  • Subway fare revenue totaled $554 million in 2021 through May, down 61% from pre-pandemic levels but exceeding forecasts by $251 million, or 83%.
  • Bus (including local and express service) fare revenue was $258 million in 2021 through May, down 45% from pre-pandemic levels but exceeding forecasts by $160 million, or 163%.

Note: Data is preliminary and subject to adjustment. Subway ridership includes Staten Island Railway.