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New York City’s Shrinking Workforce Affects Agencies Disproportionately

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Nov 18, 2022

New York City’s municipal workforce shrank by more than 19,000 jobs, leaving positions unfilled and agencies understaffed, according to a report by the Office of the New York State Comptroller (OSC), Thomas DiNapoli.

The city employed 300,446 workers prior to the pandemic and employed 281,333 as of August 2022. A 6.4 percent drop since June 2020 is attributable to fiscal challenges, such as the mayoral directive to reduce city-funded spending by 3 percent in fiscal year 2023 and by 4.75 percent in fiscal year 2024. “Unusually high attrition” was also cited as a factor.

The report found that current staffing is among the lowest levels since August 2015 (or since July 2014, if staffing at the Department of Education is excluded) and that the declines have been uneven across city agencies. The ones experiencing the sharpest drops are the Department of Correction (23.6 percent), the Department of Investigation (22.2 percent), and the Taxi and Limousine Commission (20.5 percent).

“Recent reports have suggested some services have not kept up with demand,” the report stated. “OSC found that the decline in staffing has been uneven, with certain program areas and occupational groups experiencing a decline of more than twice the citywide average. Staffing declines in these areas suggest additional analysis is warranted to understand the impact on service delivery, particularly as the City embarks on a new plan to generate prudent cost savings.”

The report stated that the city’s current financial plan assumes that full-time staffing will reach 306,302 employees by the end of fiscal year 2023, more than the pre-pandemic peak.

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