The Big Apple added jobs at an agonizingly slow pace last month as it continues to struggle to deal with a workforce that has been cut by around 300,000 since the pandemic, alarming new data shows.
The latest employment figures show the city gained 13,500 jobs for December, but the number still leaves Gotham about 12 percent short of meeting its pre-pandemic level, according to new job statistics and analysis by The City.
New York City was the nation’s metro area hardest hit by the pandemic, losing a total of nearly 1 million jobs in March and April 2020, with the largest spill by far in Manhattan. It currently has just over 4 million employees.
“The city’s job losses starting in the fall of 2022 — two and a half years after the pandemic began — come primarily from declining employment in lower-paying, face-to-face industries directly affected by public health business restrictions and subject to the prolonged effects of changing commuting and hybrid work patterns,” according to a just-released study by the New School and others.
Gotham’s still-attracting workforce only reinforces earlier dire predictions by city officials that Apple won’t return to pre-pandemic levels for at least several years.
The Mayor’s Budget Office has said it doesn’t expect the city to hit the mark until the end of 2024. Gov. Kathy Hochul was even more skeptical, predicting last summer that it could last until 2026.
The city’s hardest hit industries continue to be hospitality, retail and construction, while warehouse jobs have made the best recovery, according to the study.
The Big Apple’s jobless rate also continued to rise last month. It reached 5.9 percent, up 0.1 percent from November and 1.6 percent higher than the state as a whole, according to new data.
The city’s unemployment rate of nearly 6% was significantly higher than the national total of 3.5%.
However, the city’s rate was down 1.5% from the December 2021 rate, the new figures show.
Black residents of the city experienced the highest unemployment rate in the most recent past quarter among people of color, at 9.8 percent, according to the study and Gothamist.
The unemployment rate for the city’s Hispanics topped 7 percent, and Asians suffered double the previous rate, reaching about 5 percent.
These figures compare with 3.5 percent for whites.