Research Special Topics

Signs of Progress: NYC’s Economic Recovery

April 2024


Four years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city’s recovery is a mixed bag: topline indicators like private sector employment and gross city product hit record highs, yet important measures of New Yorkers’ wellbeing—such as the demand for public assistance—remain distressed. Forecasts of the city’s economy suggest moderate growth in jobs and output through 2028. The growth of women-led businesses has emerged as a bright spot.

The city’s economic outlook is continued slow but steady growth.

  • New York City gross city product (GCP) expanded 2.3% to a record high $1.05 trillion in 2022, up 4% from $1.02 trillion in 2019.
    • GCP growth moderated in 2023 to slightly less than 2% and will sustain just under 2% annual growth through 2028, according to city estimates.
  • Initial projections are that employers will add 90,000 jobs in 2024.
  • Total employment is forecast to increase by an average of 60,000-90,000 jobs annually from 2025 to 2028.


New York City’s businesses added nearly 8,000 jobs in February—lifting employment to another record high of 4.13 million—due to strong health care hiring.

  • Total private sector employment declined by 1,800 jobs in January before rebounding in February.
  • The city’s health care sector now boasts 969,000 jobs—up 18%, or 145,000 jobs, compared to its pre-pandemic peak of 824,000 jobs in February 2020.
  • The unemployment rate ticked down to 5.1% in February, its lowest level since August 2023.


Slowing job posting activity and low unemployment claims support a near-term outlook of moderate employment growth.

  • New York City employers listed an average of 111,100 full-time job postings in the three months ending February 2024, down 40% from 184,700 in the three months ending February 2020.
    • 8.8% of new job postings were for roles that could be filled by fully remote workers, up from 2.5% in February 2020 but down from a peak of 12% in October 2022.
  • Individuals seeking unemployment insurance submitted an average of 7,800 initial claims in New York City during the month ending March 16, down 1% from the same period in 2023 and on par with 2020 levels.


Demand for public assistance continues to climb.

  • Nearly 523,000 New Yorkers received cash assistance (also known as welfare or public assistance) in February 2024, the most in at least four years and up 53%—or 180,000 recipients—from 343,000 in February 2019.
  • 1.75 million New Yorkers received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (formerly known as “food stamps”) in February 2024, up 12%, or 186,000 beneficiaries, from 1.56 million in February 2019.


Venture capital (VC) funding slowed in New York and nationally in 2023.

  • VC funding in New York City startups declined 32% from $28 billion in 2022 to $19 billion in 2023, mirroring a 33% decline statewide and 32% nationally.
  • Despite this slowdown, 15% of all U.S. VC deals in 2023 occurred in the New York metro area—a regional record and second only to the Bay Area
  • New York metro startups made twice as many deals as the next-most-active ecosystem (Los Angeles), putting New York and the Bay Area in a class of their own.

New York’s women-led businesses emerged as a bright spot and growth engine during the pandemic.

  • New York metro-area startups with all-female founder teams secured 193 VC deals in 2023—the most of any metro and 58% higher than runner-up Bay Area’s 122 deals.
  • Women-led startups in the New York metro area raised $910 million in 2023, 42% more than their Bay Area counterparts ($640 million).
    • Women-led startups in New York raised $9.3 billion in VC funding over the past decade, just shy of the Bay Area ($9.8 billion).
  • Employment in women-owned businesses in New York state expanded 43% between 2019 and 2023, compared to 13% growth nationally, according to a recent Wells Fargo report.
    • New York ranks as the top state in the nation for women-owned businesses.


The city’s tourism industry continues its gradual recovery.

  • 61.8 million travelers visited New York City in 2023, or 93% of 2019 levels; NYC Tourism + Conventions projects visitation will increase 4% to 64.5 million in 2024 before reaching a new record high of over 68 million in 2025.
  • 75.3% occupancy rate in New York City hotels for the four weeks ending March 9, down 5.8% during the comparable period of 2019, according to CoStar, a global provider of real estate data, analytics, and news.
    • Total demand for city hotel rooms was 8.9% lower than the same period pre-pandemic.
  • 328,600 average daily visitors to Times Square during the week ending March 17, down 20% from 355,800 in the equivalent week in 2019.
    • Times Square visitation averaged 87% of 2019 levels in February—the highest since July 2022 (91% recovered).
  • Broadway shows attracted 220,000 theatergoers and grossed $28 million in sales during the week ending March 17.
    • Attendance and sales were down 26% and 18%, respectively, from the equivalent week in the 2019 season.

The region’s airports and commuter rails continue to outperform the rest of the transit system.

  • The region’s airports had their second-busiest January on record, bolstered by an 11% increase in international travel compared to January 2023.
    • The return of international travelers supports the city’s arts, hospitality, and retail sectors, as these visitors account for less than 20% of visitors but nearly half of all visitor spending.
  • Weekday subway ridership averaged 3.5 million riders in 2024 through March 20, reaching 69% of pre-pandemic ridership but up only slightly from 3.4 million average ridership during the same period in 2023.
  • Weekday bus ridership averaged 1.2 million riders in 2024 through March 20, reaching 59% of pre-pandemic ridership; year-to-date bus ridership declined from an average of 1.4 million riders during the same period in 2023.
  • Metro-North carried an average of 213,000 riders in 2024 through March 20, or 74% of pre-pandemic volume, up from 182,000 during the same period in 2023.
  • The Long Island Rail Road carried an average of 187,000 riders in 2024 through March 20, or 72% of pre-pandemic volume, up from 163,000 during the same period in 2023.