New York, NY – It’s an all-time high unemployment rate in the Big Apple this year. With the pandemic and working from home, some white collar workers are refusing to go back to the office. Statistics from the Labor Department show that the rate in the city is at 7.6%, almost more than double the national average of 4%. “With folks not coming back to the office, all the office-adjacent employers have been slow to recover,” Wells Fargo senior economist Mark Vitner told the New York Post.
Public safety and omicron rates have been a culprit in the reasoning for New Yorkers not returning to work. Crime rates have gone up to 45% this year, especially on the subways which is only at 60% ridership post pandemic. With the recent shooting on the N Train, which injured 23 people, residents are even more wary of commuting. “Short- to medium-term, crime is an issue if prospective hires see New York as unsafe,” said Charles Myers, chairman and founder of the business consulting firm Signum Global Advisors, told the New York Post.
Only 16% of businesses are reporting that more than 50% of their employees have returned to the office on a daily basis, according to a survey conducted by Partnership for New York City. Hospitality and entertainment industries are getting hit the hardest by the hesitation from workers to return to offices. “..all kinds of enterprises are reliant on the model of packing a lot of people into small spaces. With many employees dividing their time between working from home and from office, those reliant or accustomed to a steadier stream of business aren’t at full capacity and wonder whether they ever will be again,” Mark Hamrick, Bankrate’s senior economic analyst, told the New York Post.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has urged New Yorkers to return back to work and to their daily routines. He argued that the work from home status has been hurting businesses that rely on a steady stream of customers. Shortly after he made this statement, Mayor Adams tested positive for COVID after attending the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington where dozens of attendees also tested positive.
Adams has started to work on the economic recovery plan he spoke about in his campaign. The plan aims to boost tourism and bring back over 400,000 jobs to the city. “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,” said Mayor Eric Adams.
New York residents, however, feel very differently about just going back. “The city isn’t safe and it’s a serious problem,” one NoHo resident said to the Post, who works from his one-bedroom apartment when he’s not traveling for business.
“People just got used to doing their jobs at home and being with their families,” a lower Manhattan resident told the Post. “Also, it’s so gross and seedy in Midtown, who wants to commute five days a week? I don’t.”