December 2020

The monthly jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor reflected the pandemic’s continuing impact on the job market and the economy. A triad of trouble included job growth remaining slow for the fifth straight month, employers scaling back hiring last month, and a stubbornly high unemployment rate of 6.7%, a slight decrease from October’s 6.9% 

New York State’s latest jobs report won’t be released until the end of December but looking at the last available report from October makes evident our state follows the same trend of job loss, high unemployment, and a slow job market. New York City was especially hard-hit in the first three months of the pandemic.  

Nationally, before COVID when the economy was close to full employment, a report of adding 245,000 jobs in November would have been indicative of strong economic performance and a tight labor market. Unfortunately, the nation has lost around 10 million jobs during the pandemic, many of which will not be coming back, and people can’t quickly get back to work. This is a huge hurdle to recovery.  

Now winter begins with a viral surge, Congress still unable to deliver a new aid package and enhanced federal unemployment benefits are set to expire at the end of December.  Hope for our health and economic recovery seems to lie in hope of how fast and effectively vaccines can be delivered.  

In New York State, there is a clear need to responsibly raise revenue. Some of the currently discussed proposals seek to address it through ultra-wealth taxes including raising the personal income rates for billionaires and raising additional funds by taxing investment vehicles. As the state legislature begins a new session in January, the primary concern will be how New York can propel recovery.