A new study from WalletHub shows that New York’s economic recovery from COVID-19 might as well be the shrugging shoulder emoji.
The personal finance website reported that weekly unemployment claims in New York increased by 29.07% when compared to the same week in 2019 (the 21st smallest increase in the United States), weekly unemployment claims in New York decreased by 26.85% compared to the start of 2020 (the 20th biggest decrease in the U.S.), and weekly unemployment claims in New York decreased by 64.17% compared to the same week last year (the 13th smallest decrease in the U.S.).
New York City, in particular, is still struggling with unemployment, with the sixth lowest recovery. The city’s 9.8% unemployment is the ninth highest in the country with the number still more than double pre-pandemic levels.
WalletHub officials stated that these statistics are based on the unemployment rate for the month of May.
WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said that New York should get back to work soon, but its future remains in limbo.
“It’s difficult to tell what the outlook for the city’s unemployment is, as there are so many variables to account for,” said Gonzalez. “The city has largely reopened, but unfortunately there are a lot of small businesses that did not survive the pandemic. Plus, business travel and international tourism are simply not back yet, with many hotels and fine dining establishments along with them. This also affects the city’s economy and keeps unemployment high.
“The Delta variant could have an impact on the numbers,” continued Gonzalez. “How big of an impact will depend on several factors. Since the variant is highly transmissible, the city is already seeing more masks, more hesitance to public transportation, and less of a willingness to partake in indoor activities.”
Overall, there were 360,000 new unemployment claims nationwide, which is 6.1 million fewer than during the peak of the pandemic (a 94% reduction). Twelve states had unemployment claims last week that were lower than pre-pandemic: Kentucky, Arizona, Kansas, South Carolina, West Virginia, Iowa, Florida, Wyoming, Michigan, Vermont, Washington, Minnesota.
Rhode Island’s unemployment claims last week were worse than the same week last year.
When asked if unemployed Americans should wait until their benefits end to re-enter the job market, Gonzalez said they should start looking for a job right now.
“Even if the current unemployment benefits pay well, people should be thinking about the long-term rather than the short-term,” stated Gonzalez. “Right now, many companies are experiencing labor shortages and are desperate to hire employees, which means that job-seekers have a lot of leverage and a lot of options.
“Now is an ideal time to start looking for a job in order to get the best compensation and most benefits possible.”