UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan — New York’s comptroller revealed a startling statistic about New York City’s workforce: it’s dropped to the lowest level in five years.
And PIX11 News learned something even more stunning: some of those essential positions may never be refilled.
Mayor Eric Adams and his administration have the tough task of getting the city back on budget. Right now, New York City’s revenue is a couple billion dollars short of its planned expenses, according to the state comptroller.
As a high amount of people are leaving the city’s workforce, Deputy Comptroller Rahul Jain said the city implemented a hiring freeze because of a “budget crunch.”
The result of that freeze? An almost 6 percent decrease in the city’s total workforce. At about 284,000 employees total, the city is employing at its lowest level since 2017.
The sharpest decline happened in teaching assistants, corrections officers and school safety agents. Those three professions saw dips of 15, 17.5 and 20.9%, respectively.
The nation’s largest school system has lost about 2,000 teachers, Jain said. The Department of Education is trying to remedy the shortage, but still “trending in the other direction.” Teachers make up about a quarter of the city’s full-time workforce.
“Right now, we are concerned that we don’t have revenues to support all of the spending,” Ana Champeny, deputy research director at Citizens Budget Commission, said.
The Citizens Budget Commission said the Adams administration will need to decide if it’s worth it to fill vacant positions. The goal is to save 3% from each agency without impacting public health and the Department of Corrections.
Right now, essential workers — including police officers, EMS workers and firefighters — are all working overtime, costing taxpayers more than a billion dollars in just six months.