The Bureau of Labor Statistics released rebenchmarked Current Employment Survey data, with 2019 annual average data (the average of all 12 months), last week. While it seems as if it were ancient history, it is worth looking at this data now, because it shows how New York State benefitted from a massive employment boom from the peak of the prior economic upturn in 2008 to what seems certain to be the peak of the expansion that just ended in 2019. An employment boom that dwarfed the increase from 2000 to 2008, and exceeded the U.S. average in percent gains, even though New York is a slow population growth state. A boom that was concentrated in New York City.
And yet by the end of 2019 the City of New York, the State of New York, and the MTA were already facing budget crises. Service cuts, tax increases, fee increases and deferred maintenance to the point of a future drastic infrastructure decline were already on the table. And now, no doubt our elected officials and the special interests they represent will use the coronavirus and an excuse for all of the above. They should not be allowed to get away with it. Just as the business crisis was caused not by the virus, but rather by all the debts businesses piled up to pump up stock prices and executive pay, as everyone across the ideological spectrum seems to be saying (the subject of my prior post). So the fiscal crisis was coming one way or the other, due to similar heists over the past 25 years.