Bi-County Study On Pandemic’s Economic Impact

Long Island shed jobs faster than New York City and all other suburban counties in the state
Nassau County Supervisor Laura Curran
(Photo credit: Office of Laura Curran)

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone recently shared the results of a comprehensive study analyzing the impact of COVID-19 on Long Island’s economy as well as outlining recovery projections and strategies.
The report, developed by consulting firm HR&A Advisors with support from the Nassau and Suffolk County IDAs, breaks down job losses as a result of the pandemic, revealing that Long Island is shedding jobs at a faster rate than New York City and all other suburban counties in the state. Among other grim statistics, the analysis shows a disproportionate share of the 220,000 jobs lost across Long Island include low-paying jobs, workers with low levels of education and Hispanic/Latino workers.

This study is part of Nassau and Suffolk counties’ ongoing and collaborative efforts to measure the real-time economic impact on each industry sector, their workforces, our geographies and populations and how this in turn impacts our local governments. The report identifies recovery projections and strategies, emphasizing the necessity of support from the state and federal government. Both county executives reiterated their request to Congress for direct financial relief to both counties in the next federal recovery bill to deal with the economic distress caused by COVID-19.

“With the fastest rise of unemployment on record, leading to a complete fall off of economic activity, this report outlines the economic shock to our local economy and the continued pain among our businesses and minority communities hit hardest by the pandemic in more ways than one,” Curran said. “I will continue to do everything I can on the county level to revive our economy and address these disparities from our loan program for MWBE businesses and businesses in economically distressed areas, to free PPE kits to small businesses, to our food distributions that have fed 20,000 local families in need. But this report underscores that we cannot recover from this devastating crisis alone. Washington needs to step in now with support for local governments so we can continue to provide vital services for our residents.”

“This pandemic has caused hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders to lose their jobs, shuttered businesses and turned our local economy upside down,” Bellone added. “This report makes clear that federal aid from Congress is necessary if our region is going to rebound and recover from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”
Nassau County IDA Chairman Richie Kessel said that the report clearly shows the need for significant federal assistance to help both counties and small businesses to keep downtowns open, survive and thrive.

Nassau County IDA Chairman Richie Kessel
(Photo courtesy of EAC Network)





“The Nassau IDA is prepared to take whatever actions we can implement to revive the Island’s economy,” Kessel said.


Key Findings:
Total Job Losses

• Long Island businesses shed jobs at a faster rate compared to New York City, its northern suburbs, New York State and the U.S. as a whole during the initial months of the crisis.

• Nassau and Suffolk had a 21.9 percent change in total non-farm employment (seasonally adjusted) while NYC had a 20.1 percent change and the national average was 14.5 percent.

• Long Island businesses shed 270,000 jobs during the first two months of the crisis.

• Businesses recouped 48,000 jobs in May, as some economic activity curtailed during the pandemic resumed.

• Continued supply chain disruptions and reductions in consumer demand are expected to result in an additional job loss beyond those recorded to-date. Total job losses in 2020 are expected to reach 375,000 relative to pre-COVID levels.

Industries Hit Hardest

• Top seven industry sectors with the most job losses on Long Island:

– Hospitality: 82,000
– Healthcare/Social Assist.: 59,000
– Retail: 52,000
– Construction: 37,000
– Administrative + Waste Services: 27,000
– Personal Services: 26,000
– Real Estate: 24,000

The study applied the results of several studies conducted by the counties, including two created and hosted by Hofstra, to assess the impact that the coronavirus is having on local businesses. The study utilized a variety of other data sources to project the initial economic shock from COVID-19 by sector, including documented monthly job losses from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and weekly initial Unemployment Insurance claims from the New York State Department of Labor. The report also expanded upon impact studies and methodologies and consults other economic forecasts to identify differential rates of recovery and perspectives of local industry groups and civic organizations to project “new normal” levels of economic activity.

Visit to view the full report.

—Submitted by the office of Laura Curran

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