State Comptroller DiNapoli Statement on Impact of a Late State Budget
While Some New York Industries Are on the
Path to Recovery, Others Are Not
Job losses from the pandemic and the ensuing economic shutdown were swift and deep: employment in New York declined by nearly 2 million jobs from February to April 2020. New data released by the State Department of Labor show less than half of the jobs lost during that time have been recovered, and employment is still more than 1 million jobs below its pre-pandemic levels. In February 2021, total non-farm employment in New York increased only slightly, by a net of 3,700 jobs, compared to a net 45,300 jobs added in January. The leisure and hospitality sector has added the greatest number of jobs, nearly 260,000, while the construction industry is farthest along in its recovery, regaining 74 percent of jobs lost.
Employment growth may be drawing New Yorkers back into the workforce; the statewide labor force participation rate increased slightly to 59.9 percent in February (the low point was 56.8 percent in April 2020, but the rate has not improved in a steady trajectory).
The State unemployment rate ticked up to 8.9 percent in February from 8.8 percent in January (on a seasonally adjusted basis). In New York City, the unemployment rate increased to 12.9 percent from 12.6 percent, while for the rest of the State it remained at 6 percent. State and City rates remain greater than the national average of 6.2 percent.
New York State recently issued $634 million of voter-approved General Obligation (GO) bonds to finance a variety of critical projects, including those for environmental, transportation and education purposes, as well as to refinance prior bonds, achieving $50 million in savings to taxpayers. The bonds, which were priced by competitive bidding on March 16 and were delivered on March 23, outperformed expectations.
GO bonds are underpinned by the full faith and credit of the State of New York; that guarantee is attractive to investors in the municipal bond market. The market priced these tax-exempt GO bonds between 1 to 2 basis points (bps) below the benchmark Municipal Market Data (MMD) index. This was significantly better than other State-supported bond sales with comparable maturities, which were priced up to 45 bps higher than GO bonds. These reduced interest costs translate to long-term savings for New York taxpayers.