A 56-member panel of business, labor and academic leaders will be considering how to help New York City and the surrounding region recover economically more than two years after the onset of the COVID pandemic.
The commission, announced Monday by Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, comes as the metropolitan area's economy has lagged behind the rest of the state and the country as a whole.
The panel will be led by Robin Hood CEO Richard Buery and former Sidewalk Labs CEO Daniel Doctoroff.
"This panel represents a diverse cross-section of New Yorkers with a track record of thinking big to develop innovative policies to drive growth in all five boroughs and beyond," Hochul said. "New York has demonstrated incredible resiliency over the last few years, and we owe it to New Yorkers to rebuild and revitalize our economy and ensure everyone has an opportunity to succeed. I have the utmost faith in the 'New' New York panel to deliver a bold, actionable, and equitable plan to move our city, region, and state forward."
New York City's economy is important for the state as a whole. It's the engine of New York's finances and provides the bulk of tax dollars that fund the state's $220 billion budget.
A rising in homelessness, crime and the lingering after-effects of the pandemic have led to deepening economic uncertainty for New York City. Elected officials, including Hochul and Adams, have urged private-sector workers to return to their offices, providing a needed boost for businesses and mass transit.
But concerns surrounding crime, as well as resurgent waves of COVID in the last several months, have kept many offices at nominal in-person staffing.
The pandemic hit New York City early, driving up unemployment in key sectors like tourism and hospitality along the way.
As New Yorkers have returned to the city in the last year, tenants have been battered with rising rents.
The state Department of Labor reported the April unemployment rate in the state stood at 4.5%, a slight drop from March. But New York City's jobless rate has remained higher and has flattened out at 6.4% that month.
The panel reviewing ways of boosting the economy will meet later this month and provide recommendations by the end of the year.
The commission will be assessing key commercial centers and how to reduce vacancy and strengthen the tax base along the way while also finding ways of creating and sustaining jobs.
"We can only create the prosperous, inclusive New York City we need by bringing everyone to the table, and that's what we are doing," Adams said. "This group of leaders from across the city, the state and the region will recommend steps we can take immediately to strengthen our city's economic engines while putting forward the big ideas we must consider to build a post-pandemic city that works for all New Yorkers and all who come here."