The state lost 44,400 construction jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, the sharpest decline for the industry in 25 years, according to a report released Wednesday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
The report presents yet another data point of the economic toll for New York due to the pandemic and the deep hole the economy has found itself in during the crisis.
More than half of the jobs lost during the last year were in New York City, which has been driven in large part by residential and commercial growth over the last decade.
The report pointed to construction being among the city's fastest-growing sectors from 2011 to 2019, increasing by 43.5% during that time. The pandemic brought that growth to a halt.
“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the construction industry in New York City,” DiNapoli said. “The sector started back up last June, but even with pent-up demand for certain projects, jobs are still lagging behind the employment rebound in other industries. The state and city have important roles to play in distributing federal relief and the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill could be a boon for the industry as private investment will likely take longer to fully rebound.”
New York's unemployment rate statewide fell between March and April, from 8.4% to 8.2%, but continues to lag behind the national average.
Before 2020, the construction sector statewide reached a record 406,600 jobs. It fell by nearly 11% last year to 362,200 jobs. New York has recorded overall the highest construction job loss of any state in the country during the last year.