The August jobs report showed that the economic recovery in the U.S. hit a major road block last month.
The economy added only 235,000 positions, according to the U.S. Labor Department, a shock to economists who were expecting over 700,000 new jobs.
New York’s August job report does not come out until September 16, but the state has typically trended near the national average.
However, EJ McMahon with the Empire Center, a conservative think tank, said New York has a much deeper hole to climb out of when it comes to economic recovery.
“If there's a slowdown nationally, that also ripples through to here, which is likely, that does not bode well for the future,” McMahon said. “As it is, our rate of recovery suggests that it will be 2023 before we hit the 2019 level of employment. And that could be optimistic.”
New York had job losses well over double the national rate at the worst point of the pandemic last year and has had a sluggish recovery.
Maria Doulis, deputy comptroller for budget and policy analysis, says this stalled jobs growth on the national level shows that the delta variant is a very real concern for many Americans.
“Question is, if the job growth is slowing and concerns about delta are rising, how does that affect our behavior?" Doulis questioned. “And as New Yorkers, what does that mean for restaurants and all the businesses that were hardest hit and whether they will have the demand there to support these employees.”
Numerous federal unemployment benefit programs are also ending after Labor Day, including the extra $300 a week supplement.
Doulis says around 2 million New Yorkers relied on these programs
Economists are at odds over whether the expiration of the pandemic unemployment benefits will increase the number of jobs, pointing to limited job growth in states where these benefits ended a few months early.
But McMahon says those states didn’t see as sharp of a decline in jobs during the pandemic and believes these benefits expiring will encourage more people to return to work.
“This is the perfect time to let the benefit expire because also children are going back to school, which removes one barrier to seeking employment for people who are receiving the supplement, because they needed to have a way to have their children cared for and now school has resumed,” McMahon said. "So it's a crucial month. September is really crucial.”
Economists say that the area to closely watch when the state’s jobs report is released on September 16 is how the leisure and accommodations sector grew this past month, since this was an area hardest hit by the pandemic.