Research Special Topics

Signs of Progress: NYC’s Economic Recovery

September 2022


Tourism numbers strengthened over the summer, city-based startups are attracting more venture capital than pre-pandemic, and a slow but steady return to the office boosted weekday transit ridership to pandemic-era highs in September. The city’s unemployment rate grew in August as more people were seeking jobs. The city also added private sector jobs, but there is still misalignment in the labor market due to the persistent gap between job requirements and the skills of many of the unemployed.

Key Statistics

Unemployment Rates

  • 6.6% unemployment rate in August, up from 6% in July.
    • The increase in the unemployment rate was due primarily to a sharp increase of 26,200 participants in the city’s labor force, a positive trend.
  • During the three months ending August 2022, the labor force participation rate—or share of city residents aged 16 to 64 either working or actively looking for work—was 71.9%, up from 70.9% during the three months ending February 2020.


  • New York City added 20,700 private sector jobs in August and 52,400 jobs in July and August combined.
  • Industries that added the most jobs:
    • Health care: 4,700 jobs
    • Accommodation and food services: 4,400 jobs
    • Administrative services: 4,300 jobs
  • 3.98 million private sector jobs as of August 2022, or 129,600 fewer jobs (-3.2%) than the pre-pandemic peak of 4.11 million in February 2020.

Job Postings

  • New York City employers listed 271,600 job postings in August 2022, down 2% from 276,100 in July and up 7% from 253,600 in August 2019.
  • 91,700 new job postings in August 2022, concentrated in the professional and administrative services, health care, and financial services sectors.
    • 9.3% of new job postings in the last quarter were for roles that could be filled by fully remote workers, up from 2.5% in August 2019.

Return to Office

  • As of mid-September 2022, 49% of Manhattan office workers are at the workplace on an average weekday, up from 38% in April.
  • Only 9% of employees are in the office five days a week as of mid-September; the share of office employees that are fully remote dropped from 28% in April to 16% as of mid-September.
  • Return to office rates are projected to increase gradually through the rest of 2022, with 54% of workers expected in the office on an average weekday by January 2023.

Venture Capital

  • New York City-based startups raised $22.8 billion in venture capital funding in 2022 through late September, surpassing the full year funding totals in every year except 2019 ($23 billion) and 2021 ($48.1 billion) according to Pitchbook.
  • The largest funding rounds secured by New York City-based companies in Q3 2022 include:
    • $310 million raised by fresh food company Gotham Greens
    • $238 million raised by mobile ticketing platform SeatGeek
    • $192 million raised by digital health company Cleerly


New York City sales tax collections totaled $751 million in August 2022, according to the State Comptroller’s office.

  • Up 21%—or $128 million—from $623 million in August of 2021
  • Up 30%—or $174 million—from $577 million in August 2020
  • Up 21%—or $130 million—from $621 million in August 2019


  • 86.1% occupancy rate in New York City hotels for the four weeks ending September 24, down from 91% during the comparable period of 2019, according to data analytics firm STR.
    • Total demand for city hotel rooms was 8.1% lower than the same period pre-pandemic.
    • Note that temporary and permanent hotel room closures during the pandemic may affect comparisons of occupancy rates.
  • Broadway shows attracted 201,300 theatergoers and grossed $25 million in sales during the week ending September 18.
    • Attendance declined 21% from 254,700 during the same week in 2019 but up 177% from 72,700 during the same week in 2021.
    • Gross sales declined 15% from $29.3 million during the same week in 2019 but increased 133% from $10.7 million during the same week in 2021.
  • 342,511 average daily visitors to Times Square in August 2022, up 64% from August 2021 but down 15% from August 2019.
    • In July 2022, 367,947 people visited Times Square on average, the daily highest foot traffic since the onset of the pandemic and down only 9% from July 2019

Business Formation

  • 302 business licenses were issued in August 2022, down 38% from 486 in August 2019.
  • There are 281,404 private sector business establishments as of Q1 2022, an increase of more than 5,500 businesses from 275,852 in Q1 2020.
    • Manhattan had a net loss of 2,656 businesses from Q1 2020 to Q1 2022; all the other boroughs experienced positive business growth, including a net increase of 4,418 businesses in Brooklyn and 2,337 businesses in Queens.



New York City subway carried 3.875 million riders on Wednesday, September 21, surpassing the pandemic-era ridership record set the day before by 100,000 riders.


Weekday bus ridership reached 1.59 million on Wednesday, September 14—65% of pre-pandemic ridership—setting a new pandemic-era record.


The Long Island Rail Road carried 204,600 riders on Wednesday, September 21—71% of pre-pandemic weekday ridership—setting a new pandemic-era record.


Metro-North carried 188,800 riders on Tuesday, September 20—73% of pre-pandemic weekday ridership—setting a new pandemic-era record.

Bridges and Tunnels

946,000 vehicles traveled via MTA-operated bridges and tunnels on an average weekday through the first three weeks of September, level with pre-pandemic traffic.

Fare Collection

  • Subway fare revenue totaled $1.4 billion in 2022 through August, down 38% from pre-pandemic levels but exceeding July 2022 estimates by $49 million, or 3%.
  • Bus (including local and express service) fare revenue was $505 million in 2022 through August, down 34% from pre-pandemic levels but exceeding July 2022 estimates by $22 million, or 5%.


  • 751,800 bicycles passed over the East River bridges in August 2022, a new monthly record and up 31% from August 2019.
  • Over 30,000 bicycles crossed the East River bridges on September 21, a daily record.
  • Lyft, which owns bike share service Citi Bike, reported a weekly ridership record of over 910,000 rides citywide in mid-September and a daily record of nearly 139,000 riders on September 14.