A particularly sunny national jobs report released in August could bode well for New York City’s continued recovery in the leisure and hospitality industries, while possibly foretelling weakness in other sectors. Across the country, employers added 528,000 positions in July, according to a seasonally adjusted report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That puts the average increase for the past three months at 437,000 per month, representing enough momentum to put the total jobs figure above its February 2020 level.

The optimistic report adds a data point to a somewhat hard-to-decipher economic climate. In July, the U.S. gross domestic product contracted for a second quarter in a row – which can signal a recession – as inflation continued to soar and the Federal Reserve Board raised interest rates, tightening operating margins for businesses and making borrowing more expensive.

Meanwhile, leisure and hospitality jobs increased by a non-seasonally adjusted 216,000 for the fiscal year. Between April and June, New York City was adding jobs in the sector, which includes entertainment, arts, hotels and restaurants, at a pace of about 12,500 per month. As of June, the sector was still 12% below its pre-pandemic high of 456,700. Nationwide, the sector is much closer to its pre-pandemic level: down 7% in July, compared to February 2020.

The jobs coming back are the same ones lost when many venues and hotels closed for more than a year, following Covid-19 shutdowns in March 2020. The national numbers also showed impressive growth in high-paying industries in the office-work sector. Although New York City employers in the sectors largely have held on to staff during the pandemic, those in technology, e-commerce and finance have been steadily announcing layoffs during the past several months.

In June, the city’s high-paying securities industry saw the number of positions up 0.5% year over year. But, from June 2021 to June 2022, U.S. securities jobs were up much more, increasing by 4.7%. That puts the city’s 182,500 Wall Street positions at a 30-year low for the city’s share of industry jobs: 17.6%.

Source: Crain’s New York Business

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