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US-NYC’s unemployment is double national average — as workers snub return to office

Only 16 percent of major employers said average daily attendance in their Manhattan offices was at more than 50 percent.Ns News Online Desk:

Ns News Online Desk: New York City’s 7.6 percent unemployment rate is among the worst of all major US cities as workers drag their feet on returning to Manhattan offices and surrounding businesses are still struggling to recover from COVID-19’s economic pain, economists warn.

While other cities have already roared back from the COVID slump, the Big Apple’s unemployment rate is still double the nationwide average of 3.8 percent, the most recent state and federal data shows.

“New York’s economy is enduring a slower recovery because it is so dependent on the office and entertainment sectors,” Wells Fargo senior economist Mark Vitner told Bloomberg.

“Cities that were quicker to reopen following the initial lockdowns at the start of the pandemic have also tended to see stronger recoveries.”

Workers still aren’t returning in droves to their big Midtown and Financial District offices — even after the huge decline in Omicron-fueled cases resulted in COVID mandates being dropped. Only 16 percent of major NYC employers said average daily attendance in their Manhattan offices was at more than 50 percent, according to the latest survey by The Partnership for New York City business group.

About 75 percent of employers delayed their return-to-office plans due to the Omicron surge and 22 percent can’t yet predict when offices will be even half-full again, the poll showed.

Subway ridership across the city is still only 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels, MTA data shows.

The slow return to pre-pandemic levels is continuing to have a negative impact on surrounding businesses — mostly the hospitality and entertainment industries.

Mayor Eric Adams has repeatedly urged New Yorkers to return to the office, arguing that the work-from-home situation is hurting those service-oriented businesses that rely on a steady stream of customers.

Hizzoner insisted just last month he was tired of hearing excuses about the pandemic, saying: “New Yorkers, it’s time to get back to work. You can’t tell me you’re afraid of COVID on Monday and I see you in a nightclub on Sunday.” Adams, who vowed to tackle the struggling economy during his campaign, unveiled his economic recovery plan earlier this month that aims to boost tourism and bring back the roughly 400,000 jobs the Big Apple lost in the last two years. “This is more than just a to-do list; this is about moving us in the right direction,” Adams said of his plan.

“It’s time to recover and move towards restarting our economy from business to Broadway … It’s time we get our city back to a pre-pandemic employment place, especially in the hard-hit areas like tourism, hospitality and the creative economy.”

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