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New York state won’t regain all jobs lost from COVID pandemic until at least 2026, analysis shows

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The Empire State is not expected to recover all the jobs lost from the COVID pandemic until at least late 2026, according to a new analysis.

The report by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, which cited a forecast by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office, expressed concern about New York’s slow jobs recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the rest of the country.

“State employment growth is still forecasted to lag that of the nation,” DiNapoli’s analysis of Hochul’s executive budget plan said.

“While the nation’s employment exceeds its pre-pandemic levels, New York has still not recovered all the jobs that were lost … DOB (NYS Division of the Budget) does not expect a return to pre-pandemic employment levels until the second half of 2026,” it added.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that New York ranks near the bottom of the pack in terms of jobs recovering from the pandemic through 2023 — 47th out of 50 states.

DiNapoli’s report said New York State had recovered 94.7% of the jobs lost since April of 2020.

A leading New York business advocate said the private sector in the Big Apple has recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic — but government jobs have shrunk.

“Private sector jobs in New York City are at an all time high today. Government jobs are down— there has been a lot of attrition and the city has a hiring freeze in place, which probably accounts for the discrepancy from the comptroller’s report,” said Kathyn Wylde, CEO of the Partnership for The City of New York.

Tourism jobs are still down — even in the city hotel sector which has benefited from contracts with Mayor Eric Adams’ administration for converting scores of hotels into emergency shelters to house migrants.

The Empire State is not expected to recover all the jobs lost from the COVID pandemic until at least late 2026, according to a new analysis. Getty Images

“Hotel jobs are still (slightly) below 2019 levels. There still are 6,000 hotel rooms closed and some, though not all, of the hotels catering to migrants do not have the same level of employment,” said Vijay Dandapani, president and CEO of the NYC Hotel Association.

“New York was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, hit harder than any other state in the nation,” Hochul spokesman Avi Small said Thursday.

“Since Governor Hochul took office, our economy has thrived: more than 639,100 new jobs and an unemployment rate that plummeted to 4.5%. Governor Hochul is committed to continued fiscally responsible leadership that puts New York on a steady path for the years to come,” he added.

DiNapoli said the steep decline in New York’s population also is worrisome for the economy.

The report by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, which cited a forecast by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office, expressed concern about New York’s slow jobs recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the rest of the country. STEFAN JEREMIAH

According to the most recent US Census estimates, New York’s population plunged by nearly 102,000 people from 2022 to 2023 and has led the nation in population loss since the pandemic hit.

His office previously reported that the net-out outmigration of taxpayers is higher than pre-pandemic levels.

“These erosion of population and taxpayers have concerning implications for future economic growth,” DiNapoli said.

Overall, New York still has fewer jobs than in pre-pandemic 2019.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that New York ranks near the bottom of the pack in terms of jobs recovering from the pandemic through 2023 — 47th out of 50 states. Getty Images

Hochul’s own economic forecast said NYC’s private sector has turned the corner, but the state as a whole had a jobs deficit.

Last year, her office estimated all job recovery wouldn’t be reached until 2027.

“As of September of 2023, New York City finally regained the number of jobs lost after the pandemic. Statewide job growth continues in health care, social assistance, and many face-to-face industries, but it has flattened or fallen in the high-paying remote-working sectors, including technology and finance,” the governor’s forecast, released as part of her $233 billion budget, said.

Her updated forecast released Thursday said, “Employment in nine of the State’s major industrial sectors is still under water.”

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