Jobs Creep Back in the New York Region as Covid-19 Restrictions Ease
By Kate King
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are slowly recovering jobs
lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but unemployment remains
elevated in the region compared with nationwide.
New York added 61,200 jobs in March, a 0.8% increase from the
prior month, according to the state Department of Labor. The job
growth represents a modest acceleration from prior months, and
indicates that hard-hit industries may be starting to recover as
state officials relax public-health restrictions on businesses,
said Adam Kamins, an economist with Moody's Analytics.
"This does represent perhaps the beginning of this next phase of
getting back on track and recovering," Mr. Kamins said.
New York's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate ticked down to
8.5% in March from 8.9% in February. It remains well above the 3.9%
unemployment rate the state enjoyed in March 2020, just before the
pandemic slammed the labor market. New York has regained 915,000,
or about half, of the 1.82 million private-sector jobs lost between
February and April last year, according to the Labor
The unemployment rate is higher in New York City, but decreased
to 11.7% in March from 12.9% in February. Mr. Kamins said the
city's job market will continue to struggle until tourism rebounds
and, more critically, office workers return in significant numbers
to Manhattan. Financial and professional-services companies haven't
shed as many jobs as other industries, he said, but the absence of
these workers has hurt the restaurants, retail stores, hair salons
and dry cleaners that previously served them.
"The impact of remote work is just so profound in the city," Mr.
Kamins said. "You absolutely need some level of widespread immunity
before you can return to normalcy."
More than 5.4 million vaccine doses have been administered in
New York City since December, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio's
office. The mayor expects to have five million residents, about 60%
of the city's total population, fully vaccinated by June.
Despite high unemployment, some employers in the restaurant
industry are struggling to hire. Jeff Bank, chief executive of
Alicart Restaurant Group, said he's having difficulty finding
workers for his Carmine's location on the Upper West Side. He
attributed the staffing challenge to competition with other
restaurants, waitstaff moving away from New York City and people
not wanting to work due to stimulus checks and extended
"It's the second-biggest problem the industry is having, after
capacity restrictions," Mr. Bank said, referring to the 50%
capacity limit on indoor dining in New York City.
Mr. Bank's other two restaurants in the city, Carmine's and
Virgil's locations, are both in Times Square and remain closed. He
said he hopes to reopen this fall, when Broadway shows are
tentatively expected to restart. In total, Mr. Bank currently
employs about 200 restaurant workers in New York City compared with
In New Jersey, private-sector employers added 20,000 jobs in
March, and unemployment ticked down 0.1 percentage point to 7.7%,
according to state Labor Department officials. The state has now
recovered about 385,000 jobs, or 54% of those lost in March and
April of 2020.
Connecticut added 5,000 private-sector jobs last month, bringing
the state's unemployment rate down to 8.3% compared with 8.5% in
February, according to the state Department of Labor. March
represented the third straight month of job growth, and in total
the state has added back 60% of the nearly 300,000 jobs lost during
the pandemic, Labor Department officials said.
Although improving, the tri-state job market still lags behind
the nationwide recovery. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6% in
March, compared with 6.2% the prior month. In March 2020, the
national unemployment rate was 4.4%, according to the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics.
Write to Kate King at Kate.King@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 15, 2021 15:36 ET (19:36 GMT)
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