Mayor Eric Adams– Remote work New York City’s economy


Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday renewed his call for an end to working from home policies, arguing remote work was partly to blame for “draining” the five boroughs’ economy.

At a news briefing Tuesday morning, NY1 asked Adams why the city’s unemployment figures were still higher than those of other metropolitan areas. The mayor cited a “combination” of factors in his response.

“Number one, we need people back to work. The financial ecosystem is crucial,” he said. “I need the accountant in the office, so that they can go to the local restaurant, so that we can make sure that everyone is employed.”

New York City “is not a city where you can remotely have employment, and that’s feeding our, really, unemployment numbers,” he maintained.

“Too many of our jobs are being, one, we’re recruiting people from outside the city. Number two, we have too many New Yorkers who are not in the city, and they’re carrying out jobs remotely, and it’s draining our economy,” he added. “So we’re doing a full push to get people back to work, get jobs back here in the city, train our young people so they can be employed, so we can turn around these numbers.”

Adams also noted that “the amount of tourism received in the city is crucial” to its economy.

“So there are many rivers,” he said. “We must ensure all of these rivers are flowing.”

New York City’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 7% in February — down by 5.5% from February 2021 but still higher than its 3.4% rate in February 2020, New York State Department of Labor statistics show.

The mayor’s remarks, which came after he announced the launch of a new career training program for young New Yorkers in foster care, echoed comments he made about remote work at a press conference in February.

“One thing that can’t happen, you can’t stay home in your pajamas all day,” he said at the time. “That is not who we are as a city. You need to be out, cross-pollinating ideas, interacting with humans. It is crucial. We’re social creatures and we must socialize to get the energy we need as a city.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul last month also called for employees to return to their offices, saying New Yorkers “thrive more when everyone comes back in person.”

A poll conducted by the Partnership for New York City between Feb. 17 and March 11, however, found concerns about safety on city streets and public transit were “the single biggest obstacle to mobilizing the return to work in the city’s office buildings.”

Of the public transit commuters the poll surveyed, 74% said transit safety had “gotten worse” since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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