New York, Springing Forward or Backwards?
Spring has started, but the weather doesn’t feel like it in the NYC region — the same can be said for a hopeful April return of workers to the city’s business districts.
Since the onset of the pandemic over two years ago, the city’s “ecosystem” of commuters supporting neighborhood establishments has been disrupted — and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Tourism is coming back, subway ridership is improving (slowly), but worker preferences are to stay home from the office at least part of the work week. Comments from elected officials that “You can’t stay home in your pajamas all day” are not helping commuters.
To aid workers New York City is also planning to implement a pay transparency law next month that every job posting list the minimum and maximum salary for each position. The rule concerns jobs that are remote or in-person, salaried or hourly, and will be done in the city by a worker employed by a corporation with four or more employees. But (in a step backwards) that may be gutted, including moving the enactment to November 15.
In a letter to the city, the Partnership for New York City, a group of large companies noted:
During a labor shortage, or in the context of achieving diversity goals, the posted maximum may be significantly higher than the historical salary ranges, creating dissatisfaction in the workforce and demands to adjust existing pay scales that the employer may be unable to afford.
The implications of these statements from companies is somewhat incredulous. Just pay workers appropriately, be transparent, and if workers are underpaid, pay them more. Don’t blame transparency for worker dissatisfaction. Employers should not be exploiting information asymmetry in the labor market for their own ends.
This week we look at some info on the New York state budget, the pay transparency law, and NYC subway ridership.
New York Has a Budget
- FY 2023 Investments in Clean Energy Infrastructure, Climate Resiliency and Preservation Office of the Governor
- Albany Looks to Gas Tax Holiday to Placate Drivers in What Could Be a Blow to Mass Transit The City
- NY lawmakers pass $220B budget that changes bail reform, approves Buffalo Bills stadium funding Gothamist
- Real estate winners and losers: state budget edition The Real Deal
Workers and Pay Transparency
- New York City Salary Transparency Law May Be Gutted Forbes
- New York City Council Proposes Amendment to Pay Transparency Law National Law Review
- NYC Salary Transparency Law in Question as Businesses Push Back Bloomberg
- Why Condé Nast Staffers Are Unionizing: ‘Prestige Doesn’t Pay the Bills’ NY Times
NYC Tourism On the Uptick
CHART OF THE WEEK
As April starts another month of “return to office” (RTO), it is becoming more clear that cities will need to adapt to something new. Office workers will not becoming back like they once did. In a recent poll, about a third of San Francisco area voters said they expect to do their jobs from home permanently.
In New York City, things are similar. For February, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 5.1%, well above the national average, and higher than that of the Los Angeles (4.9%) and San Francisco (3.4%) metro areas. The question people are wondering is — will things continue to improve or stabilize at current levels? Another recent survey by Upwork found that 9.3% of people (nearly 20 million Americans) are planning on moving because of remote work — time will tell if this materializes.
Subway ridership data is an important metric of New York City’s recovery. I prefer the average 5-day work week ridership as a metric over day-to-day comparison. Looking at data through the first week of April, things are better, but still below the five-day rolling average before the holiday Omicron surge in the U.S.
For more information check out other editions of this newsletter:
- November 2021 (Getting Riders Back on Transit)
- February 2022 (Work and Commuting in COVID’s Next Phase)
The NYC Mayor continues to push for companies to bring their workers’ RTO to five days a week, and continues with his predecessor’s policy of municipal workers reporting in-person five days as well. But even big banks, an early sector pushing for RTO, has started to become more flexible. If the city continues to have it’s municipal working environment lag behind the private sector, it will likely have difficultly attracting and retaining talent.
The future of CBDs remains uncertain, but what all the data is saying is that workers prefer to work from home at least a couple days a weak. Employers not offering a hybrid option potentially limit their ability to recruit talent and for municipal employment, this may hinder service delivery.
- The Issue: With the rise of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, will tech jobs spread into the U.S. heartland? The report looks at latest trends in the geography of tech.
- Key Findings:
… the data in this report shows that employment growth slowed in some of the biggest tech “superstars” and increased in other midsized and smaller markets, including smaller quality-of-life meccas and college towns.