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New York job recovery remains weak one year into pandemic

Doyle Dean

New York’s statewide unemployment rate remains the second highest in the country at just under 9%.One year after the start of the pandemic and the recession it caused, most of the jobs New York lost still have not come back.

Only tourism-dependent Hawaii has a higher unemployment rate than New York, according the statistics from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Between February and April of 2o2o, roughly 2 million New York jobs disappeared according to data from the State Department of Labor.

Credit New York State Labor Department

As of February 2021, fewer than 1 million of those jobs had come back.

Leisure and hospitality was by far the hardest-hit sector, shedding 600,000 jobs statewide.

Retail saw the second largest decline in employment, with 250,000 retail jobs disappearing.

Ironically, healthcare was one of the industries hardest hit by job losses, as hospitals cancelled voluntary procedures and people avoided non-essential care.

Just as the initial impact was uneven, the recovery is not lifting all industries equally.


Credit New York State Labor Department

Construction jobs have rebounded to almost three-quarters of pre-pandemic-levels. Healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation have only recovered around half of positions lost in those sectors.

However there is some good news for unemployed workers.

The American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Biden last month provides extended unemployment benefits through September.

Those supplemental benefits include an additional $300 per week in payments, on top of normal state benefits.

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