The city’s economic recovery has stalled due to the Delta variant’s impact on employment and tourism. Bright spots include job gains in the arts sector, new business formation and a return to pre-pandemic domestic migration patterns. Subway ridership rose to a pandemic high in August, a trend likely to continue with 41% of Manhattan office employees expected to return to the workplace by the end of September.
- 10.5% unemployment rate in July, down from 10.6% in June and a peak of 20% in May 2020.
- The decrease in the unemployment rate was due primarily to city residents leaving the workforce.
- The long-term unemployment rate—the share of the labor force unemployed for 27 weeks or longer—averaged 4.3% for the three months ended July 2021, accounting for about 168,000 unemployed individuals.
- The long-term unemployment rate is down from a peak of 6.3% in Q1 2021 but remains well above the 0.8% rate in Q1 2020.
- The underemployment rate—which includes those working part-time who would prefer to be working full-time and those who want to work but have given up looking for a job—averaged 15.3% for the three months ended July 2021, down from a peak of 27.3% in July 2020.
Note: Unemployment rate reflects monthly seasonally adjusted rate, long-term and underemployment rates reflect three-month moving averages.
- New York City added 16,800 private sector jobs in July. Total employment contracted by 6,100 jobs, due to a loss of 22,900 public administration jobs.
- Industries with the largest employment growth from June to July include:
- Arts, entertainment and recreation: 10% increase
- Education: 6% increase
- Accommodation and food services: 4% increase
- As of July 2021, the city has recovered 47% of the 922,200 private sector jobs lost during the early months of the pandemic; private sector employment is 12%, or 487,600 jobs, below February 2020 levels.
- 418,716 unemployed city residents in July 2021.
- 151,500 regular unemployment insurance beneficiaries in July, down 15% from June and the fewest since March 2020.
- In 2019, there was an average of 62,700 monthly beneficiaries.
Return to Office
- 23% of Manhattan office employees have returned to the workplace as of late August, up from 12% in late May, according to a Partnership survey of major employers.
- Employers expect that 41% of employees will return by the end of September 2021—down from May estimates of 62%—and 76% of office workers are expected to return by the end of January 2022.
- 44% of employers have delayed their return-to-office plans because of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant.
- 368,000 job postings with New York City employers in August 2021, down 4% from 384,100 in July.
- The number of job postings advertising positions that can be filled by remote workers rose to a new high of 33,200 in August, up nearly fourfold from pre-pandemic.
- Professional services, administrative services, health care and financial services had the greatest number of job postings in August.
- The number of people moving out of New York City every month has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels: in July 2021, net outmigration was only 500 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.
- Sales tax collections totaled $649 million in July 2021, an increase of 14% compared to $568 million in July 2020 and up 6% from $613 million in 2019.
- 61% occupancy rate in New York City hotels during the week ending August 28; occupancy has declined since peaking at 68% during the week ending July 24.
- 212,000 pedestrians visited Times Square during the average day in July 2021, up 25% from 169,500 in June and the highest number of visitors since February 2020.
- 454 business licenses were issued in July, up 144% from July 2020 and down 5% from July 2019.
- Average weekday subway ridership increased to a new pandemic high of 2.43 million in August, up from 2.40 million in July 2021.
- Weekday ridership is down 53% from pre-pandemic levels as of the week ending August 27.
- Average weekday bus ridership increased from 1.19 million in July to 1.21 million in August, slightly below ridership in June.
- Weekday ridership is down 42% from pre-pandemic levels as of the week ending August 27.
- Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) weekday ridership averaged 122,300 in August, the highest since the onset of the pandemic but down 58% from pre-pandemic levels.
- Metro-North ridership averaged 96,400 in August, down 2% from 98,300 in July and 63% below pre-pandemic levels.
Bridges and Tunnels
- Vehicles traveling via MTA-operated bridges and tunnels on weekdays averaged 930,600 in August, down slightly from a pandemic high 931,000 in June but only 2% below pre-pandemic levels.
Transit Fare Collection
- Subway fare revenue totaled $703 million in 2021 through June, down 59% from pre-pandemic levels but exceeding forecasts by $324 million, or 86%.
- Bus (including local and express service) fare revenue was $319 million in 2021 through June, down 44% from pre-pandemic levels but exceeding forecasts by $197 million, or 161%.