Long Island – Suffering Job Losses Everywhere
The April results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Long Island suffered a year-over-year loss of 292,200 jobs, or 21.7%. This rate of decline ranked 3rd worst of all 82 metros. As bad as this was, it was slightly better than Westchester County (-22%) and just below New York City’s loss of 19.2% and Northern New Jersey’s loss of 18.8%. Long Island’s unemployment rate climbed to 16.6% which was worse than New York City’s 14.6%, Westchester County’s 14.1% and Northern NJ’s 15.9%. While these numbers are preliminary, the near-term outlook remains cloudy. Although many furloughed jobs will be restored after the shelter-in-place is lifted, a large number of jobs were saved by the payroll protection program (“PPP”) which incentivized companies to keep their staff on the payroll. If the PPP is not renewed in July, these “saved” jobs will be lost for good.
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Of Long Island’s losses, 27.6% or 80,900 jobs were in the leisure and hospitality sector. This equates to a rate of decline of 65.2%. The retail sector shed another 40,400 jobs, a decline of 25.8%. Netting out these two concentrated sectors puts the remaining year-over-year rate of job decline at 16% which ranked 80th of 82 metros, or in the bottom 3. The range of losses for the non-retail-leisure-hospitality net category varied from -20% (Detroit) to -1.6% (Washington, DC) with the middle one-third of the metros ranging from -5.9% to –9.1% range.
Long Island’s office sector shed 34,300 jobs year over year, which was a rate of decline of 13.4%. This ranked 77th of 82 metros. The middle one-third of metros saw office sector losses of -5.0% to -8.7%. The metro average decline was 6.6%.
Long Island’s education and healthcare sector lost 42,900 jobs year over year, a decline of 15.1%. Most of these jobs should return when the economy re-opens and more dentists, daycare centers and other providers get back to work, although many of the education jobs may not return until September..
To put these cumulative job losses in context, Long Island’s seasonally adjusted job gain job gain over the last expansion was 135,600 jobs, a growth rate of 11.1%. The recent seasonally adjusted loss of jobs accounted for 221% of the gains in the recent expansion; that is, Long Island lost 2.2 jobs in two months for every job it added over the last ten years. This ratio ranked 76th worst of 82 metros, was nearly the same as Westchester County’s but was better than Northern New Jersey’s ratio of 238%. The equivalent ratio for the U.S. was 94%, or the losses sustained in February to April accounted for 94% of the 22.7 million jobs added from the nadir of February 2010 to February 2020.
Long Island will hopefully continue to draw some crowds to the Hamptons in the summer, but the island faces significant headwinds from the coronavirus downturn that could be exacerbated by its aging population and high living costs. Thus, the outlook in Long Island is mixed: coronavirus cases are finally declining in the metro, and more of the economy has re-opened. But many retail stores will struggle to re-open. Likewise, many businesses are surviving on the Payroll Protection Program. If this is not renewed this month or next, many more small businesses will not survive.
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