Private-sector employment in New York State remained far below pre-pandemic levels last month, badly trailing the jobs recovery in the rest of the country.

As shown by the map below, New York’s private job count as of February was 12.2 percent below the level of a year earlier, according to state and federal estimates. This was twice the national net decline of 6 percent, worse than any state except Hawaii (-19.7 percent), and just ahead of Nevada (-11 percent).

 

Among the nation’s other big states, only California (-9.7 percent) even approached a double-digit drop in private jobs compared to February 2020. Texas (-5 percent) and Florida (-6.6 percent) had net year-to-year job declines bracketing the much lower national average, even though both those states experienced COVID case surges during the winter.

So much for that “V”

Resident employment data from the monthly Current Population Survey indicated that New York’s statewide unemployment rate rose very slightly in February to 8.9 percent (not a significant change). On a more encouraging note, there also was an estimated increase in the size of the labor force, indicating that slightly more New Yorkers are at least seeking work.

However, the separate employer-establishment payroll data series showed New York’s economy was still failing to generate more employment opportunities.

After New York became the nation’s COVID-19 epicenter last March, the year-to-year private job count dropped an incredible 1.9 million jobs in April. Employment began to recover in May and continued rising for five months. Since September, however, there has been virtually no net improvement. The private employment count in February remained stuck at roughly 1 million jobs below the same month in 2020.

The table below shows how the net job decline has been distributed on a regional basis. Continuing the trend since last spring, the biggest decline has been in New York City, down 15.3 percent, but job losses of 10 percent also were estimated for Long Island and both the lower and mid-Hudson Valley. Upstate metro areas had improved more over previous months but remained above the national average change.

 

Bottom line

The latest employment data only further underscores the obvious: New York has a lot riding on the pace of business reopening and resumption of normal activities in the coming months.

 

 

Tags:

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

You may also like

New York Lags in COVID-19 Vaccinations for Older Residents

In the race to vaccinate its oldest and most vulnerable residents, New York has fallen behind. Although the state's overall COVID-19 vaccination rate is somewhat higher than the nat Read More

The Cuomo Administration Is Withholding Pandemic-Related Records Again

In an echo of the Cuomo administration's stonewalling on nursing home data, the governor's office has for a third time delayed releasing records of its vaccine review panel, this time until mid-April. Read More

Cuomo’s Schedules for the Peak of New York’s Pandemic Show Limited Contact with Outside Experts

As New York's coronavirus pandemic exploded last spring, Governor Cuomo's circle of regular contacts dwindled to a handful of close advisers, according to his recently released official schedules for March and April. Read More

New York’s Pandemic Progress Deteriorates Along with Cuomo’s Political Standing

New York's progress in combating the coronavirus pandemic has stalled in recent weeks, leaving the state with the highest COVID-19 hospitalization rate and second-highest infection rate in the U.S. Read More

New York’s Shrinking Budget for Public Health Deserves More Attention

As Medicaid costs spiraled over the past decade, other parts of the state Health Department were losing money and staff—leaving New York with diminished public health resources when the pandemic struck last year. Read More

What to Expect When the Health Department Complies with the Empire Center’s FOIL Request

Although the state Health has recently revealed significant additional information about the pandemic death toll in New York's nursing homes, it has not fully complied with last week's court order in a Freedom of Information lawsuit brought by the Empire Center. Read More

New York Reveals Another 1,516 COVID-19 Deaths in Long-Term Care Facilities

The death toll in New York's long-term care facilities jumped by another 1,516 this weekend as the Cuomo administration adjusted its reporting on adult-care facilities to include residents who died after being transferred to hospitals. Read More

The Cuomo Administration Releases More Data on Coronavirus Deaths in New York Nursing Homes

The state Health Department has revealed additional detail about coronavirus deaths in New York nursing homes, showing for the first time how many residents of each home died of COVID-19 outside of the facility, typically in a hospital. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130
E-Mail: info@empirecenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo "...the Empire Center is the think tank that spent months trying to pry Covid data out of Mr. Cuomo's government, which offered a series of unbelievable excuses for its refusal to disclose...five months after it (the Empire Center) sued, Team Cuomo finally started coughing up some of the records." -Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2021

SIGN UP TO READ ABOUT THE ISSUES IMPACTING NEW YORKERS.