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Many Young Men Still Unemployed as NYC Job Growth Slows

December’s economic update shows the city continues to lag national job growth, hitting more headwinds.

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Unused outdoor dining chairs in the Financial District this week echo the weakness in hospitality hiring.

Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Here is your December economic recovery update from THE CITY. We publish a new analysis of the city’s employment, job and fiscal indicators each month.

Weaker hiring

New York City’s lagging recovery from the recession slowed to a crawl in the fall, according to seasonally adjusted jobs numbers released by the state Labor Department Thursday.

The city gained only 9,000 jobs in November, and revised numbers for October showed a decline of almost 2,000 jobs that month.

By contrast, the city had been averaging monthly gains of 20,000 jobs previously this year. In all, it has recovered only about 85% of the jobs lost during the pandemic — even while the nation has not only regained all the jobs lost but set new employment records for the past several months. 

The data suggests that the usual year-end hiring surge for the holidays was weaker this year. Another worrisome sign is that leisure and hospitality, the sector with the biggest deficit from the pre-pandemic peak, showed no growth in November. 

The city’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in November at 5.8%, far higher than the national rate of 3.7%. Meanwhile the unemployment rate for men aged 16 to 24 is nearly 25%, according to a report issued this week by state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, and has increased since 2020. 

The jobless rate for women of the same age has fallen from just over 25% in 2020, to a little over 10% today.

While THE CITY spotlighted the problem over the summer, the new report shows there has been no improvement in recent months.

Office occupancy in New York in late November reached a post-pandemic high of just over 50% before falling back slightly last week. But for the first time Mayor Eric Adams acknowledged that companies are not requiring workers to come to the office for five days a week as he and Gov. Kathy Hochul revealed a plan to revitalize crucial business districts that was big on vision and short on details.

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