NYC Restaurant Jobs Still Down Sharply From Pre-COVID Levels; NJ Jobless Claims Up 10%

Nearly half of all New York City restaurant workers are still out of work as a result of COVID-19, while New Jersey's unemployment rates have risen for two weeks in a row

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New York City’s restaurants are employing only slightly more than half the number of people they were before the coronavirus wreaked havoc in the industry, according to a report released Thursday by the state comptroller.

There were more than 315,000 people employed in the city restaurant sector in February, which dropped dramatically to 91,000 in April at the height of the virus surge and business restrictions, according to Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

As of August, that number had rebounded, but only up to 174,000, about 55 percent of the pre-virus level.

The report found that as of the first week of September, 43 percent of restaurants and bars across the city had sought permits for outdoor dining. In Manhattan, 50 percent of establishments had gotten the permits, as did more than 40 percent of places in Brooklyn and Queens.

The coronavirus pandemic has created the toughest job market in decades, but opportunities do exist for those looking for a new gig. Keith Wolf, Managing Director of the staffing agency Murray Resources, has suggestions for how to think outside the box to make yourself stand out from the pack.

Across the Hudson River, New Jersey is dealing with some sobering jobs numbers of its own. About 27,000 people sought unemployment benefits last week, a 10 percent increase compared with the week before, New Jersey’s Labor Department said Thursday.

It was the second week in a row the jobless claims rose.

Labor officials have said the spiking claims stem from the coronavirus outbreak, though last week’s increase was due to the increase in people applying for a federal benefit to help workers not eligible for regular unemployment.

Since the outbreak first struck in March, 1.6 million workers sought jobless benefits, according to the department. New Jersey’s unemployment rate for August, the latest month available, was 10.9%.

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