No Cure in Sight: The Covid-19 Economic Virus in New York City As the End of Summer Approaches
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Even with the number of new Covid-19 cases in New York City receding dramatically, and with many sectors of the local economy continuing to re-open from the months-long pandemic-induced lockdown, unemployment in the city remains distressingly high. Ominously, nearly 50,000 workers a week lost jobs in the city even during the economic recovery months of June and July – a pace of initial unemployment claims four times higher than during the worst of the 2008-09 Great Recession. And the July expiration of the temporary $600 Federal supplemental weekly unemployment insurance benefit will impose deep new hardships on hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and on the entire city economy. Drawing on a range of current jobs and income data, this report paints a picture of the pandemic’s persisting economic impact on New York City and State. Among other key report findings:
While the official June unemployment rate in the city was 20.4 percent (up from 18.3 percent in May), the “actual” unemployment figure (measured by workers receiving unemployment benefits) was much higher, at 32.7 percent. In the Bronx, this actual unemployment rate was nearly 41 percent.
The number of public assistance recipients in the city rose nearly 16 percent between February and June, and the number of residents enrolled in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, previously known as Food Stamps) increased by 12.5 percent during that period.
James A. Parrott is Director of Economic and Fiscal Policies at the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School.
Lina Moe is a research assistant at the Center and a graduate student in economics at the New School for Social Research.
Photo by Matias Campa.