The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released rebenchmarked annual average Current Employment Survey data for 2020 and prior years on March 15th 2021.
More than any other year, there is reason to take the data with a grain of salt. State departments of labor faced the challenge of collecting the data during a pandemic, while working at home. An appointee of Mr. Transparency, Donald Trump, was in charge of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, during an election year. The BLS was hacked by the Solar Winds computer virus late in 2020. And this data source is most inaccurate during sudden shifts in the economy, due to the need to guesstimate the number of workers employed in new businesses and businesses that closed but were not surveyed. Large revisions often follow and the unemployment tax records roll in. There was more than one sudden shift, many businesses closed, and some opened in 2020. That said, many people worked to produce the best data they could under the circumstances, and this post will discuss what it shows.
It shows the biggest year-to-year private sector wage and salary job loss for New York City since at least 1950, and perhaps ever. A job loss that was larger, on a percentage basis, than any U.S. area of any size save the state of Hawaii. A job loss that was significantly larger than had been reported prior to rebenchmarking. And yet there is another way to look at the data. New York City still had more private wage and salary jobs in 2020 than it had in any year prior to 2014 – and a boom in self-employment is on top of that.Continue reading