More than half of NYers face income loss amid pandemic

COVID-19’s economic impact expected to continue

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t over. Its economic impact isn’t, either.

More than four months after New York discovered its first case of COVID-19, over 1 million New Yorkers remain out of work, with many unable to pay their rent, and some without enough food to eat, according to a new report from the state comptroller’s office.

The new report on New York’s economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, which pulls together survey results and statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, was released by the comptroller’s office last week. It gives some insight into the scope of the economic impact of the virus so far and highlights the extent of the financial hardship many New Yorkers are facing right now.

Though the state is gradually reopening, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has warned that the economic shock waves of the pandemic will likely be seen for the next few years.

Millions of people have faced a loss of income since March, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” order was signed and entire industries were shuttered in an effort to curb the spread of the virus, according to the report.

More than half of adults in this state, 53%, live in households that have reported a loss of income since mid-March, according to the report.

Many New Yorkers aren’t convinced that they’ve seen the brunt of their families’ financial woes: More than a third of the state’s population is expecting more income loss within the next month, according to the report.

The hardest-hit industries, in terms of job losses between May 2019 and May 2020, are the leisure and hospitality industry — including food services — which lost 601,300 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities — including retail — which lost 320,700 jobs; and education and health services, which lost 225,700 jobs.

The state recovered some jobs in May. The unemployment rate was 14.5% in May, down from 15.3% the month prior but up from 4% in May 2019, according to the state Department of Labor.

As of May, more than 1.3 million New Yorkers remained unemployed.

In the week leading up to the Fourth of July weekend, the DOL reported more than 96,000 initial jobless claims.

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, some New Yorkers have delayed or gone without medical care within the last few weeks. Some have been unable to pay their rent or haven’t had enough to eat.

According to the report, which cites statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, 44% of adult New Yorkers delayed medical care between May and June as a result of COVID-19.

Twenty-seven percent of residents either missed last month’s rent or mortgage payment, or fear they may miss next month’s, according to the report.

Twelve percent of New Yorkers surveyed in June reported not having enough to eat within the last week, higher than the 10% of adults nationwide who live in households that reported not having enough to eat. Black and Hispanic households are disproportionately impacted, according to the report.

Many small business owners aren’t confident that the economy will return to normal any time soon, according to the report.

More than half of small business owners in New York said they don’t expect business to return to its normal level of operations for at least six months, according to the report. Forty-four percent expect a return to normalcy in more than six months, while 12% believe business will never return to normal.

Since the beginning of March, close to 66,000 businesses nationwide have closed their doors permanently, according to Yelp, an online business directory platform. Many of those closures — about 14% of them — happened between June 15 and 29, according to Yelp.

The latest national economic outlook, released by the Congressional Budget Office on July 2, showed that over the next decade, the coronavirus pandemic is projected to cost the U.S. economy upward of $16 trillion.

“The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has brought about widespread economic disruption,” the report reads. “In the first quarter of 2020, the pandemic and associated social distancing ended the longest economic expansion and triggered the deepest downturn in output and employment since World War II.”

The unemployment rate is expected to peak at over 14% in the third quarter of 2020, according to the report, then “fall quickly as output increases in the second half of 2020 and throughout 2021.” The country’s inflation-adjusted gross domestic product is projected to recover to its pre-pandemic level by mid-2022, the report says.

CBO Director Phillip L. Swagel said there’s “an unusually high degree of uncertainty” surrounding these projections because of a variety of factors, including the trajectory of the pandemic, the New York Times reported earlier this month.


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