Last year, the financial crunch created by the COVID-19 pandemic led officials in New York to institute a hiring freeze in the state government. 

The state $212 billion state budget has thawed that freeze. 

A source told Spectrum News on Monday the freeze formally ended last month with the passage of the state budget, which received a $12.5 billion boost in direct aid from the federal government earlier this year. 

State budget officials previously announced the debt taken on to help the state's cash flow last year has also been paid back. 

New York's tax revenue dried up significantly last year as the pandemic shut down businesses, schools and public gathering places. Unemployment in February was above 8% statewide, an improvement from last year when one in five New Yorkers reported some form of joblessness. 

Tax revenue this year has since recovered, and at a faster pace than initially projected. 

Still, New York's unemployment rate remains higher than the national average.