Read the full report here: Economy Shows Improvement, but Employment Needs Time to Recover

Several measures show signs of gradual improvement for New York residents as the state emerges from the covid-19 recession. One such indicator is the steep decline of new unemployment insurance claims, which had recently peaked in winter this year. Another such positive indicator is the continued gradual decrease in the statewide unemployment (U-3) rate, which peaked at 16.2 in April of 2020 as a result of pandemic-induced layoffs and business closures.

The number of New York residents in the labor force also seems to have recovered; since the fall to 8.9 million in April of 2020, the 9.5 million reported for this April is 1,600 more than were reported in February of 2020. There are still over 778,000 New Yorkers who are officially unemployed, more than twice the 374,000 last March , pre-Covid. And the statewide employment numbers are down from 9.8 million in the first quarter of 2020 to 8.8 million in the first quarter of this year. Given the substantial changes in the state economy since last winter, it will likely take months for many of the unemployed to find work.

By Brent Kramer
Brent Kramer, PhD is a senior economist at the Fiscal Policy Institute.