The Covid-19 pandemic devastated New York’s construction industry. A new report by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli found that in 2020 New York State lost 44,400 construction jobs, which was the worst annual decline in the industry in more than 25 years, with more than half the losses coming from New York City. Construction was the city’s fastest-growing sector from 2011 to 2019, rising by 43.5 percent until the pandemic brought New York’s construction industry to a halt.
Some of the report’s highlights include:
- In 2020, New York State had the fourth largest construction sector in the nation, but also had the highest job losses.
- The loss of 44,400 construction jobs was the State’s worst annual decline in more than 25 years.
- New York City accounted for more than half the industry’s statewide job losses.
- The City’s construction employment declined by 14.4 percent (23,300 jobs) in 2020, worse than for the private sector overall.
- Most construction firms in New York City employ fewer than 20 people (91 percent in 2020). These small firms are responsible for about one-third of all construction jobs.
- Construction was the fourth highest-paying employment sector in New York City in 2020, with an average salary of $87,200. The sector was responsible for $11.8 billion in wages.
- More than a quarter (27 percent) of the workers in the industry earned more than $80,000.
- Immigrants held 53 percent of the construction jobs in New York City, much higher than in the rest of the State (18 percent) and the nation (24 percent).
- In 2020, construction spending in NYC fell from a record high in 2019 to $55.5 billion, an 8.5 percent decline. Construction firms generated an estimated $85 billion in economic activity in 2020, representing 7.8 percent of New York City’s total economic output.