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New York City faces long road to recovery

Manhattan office employees are returning to work at a much slower pace than those in most other major U.S. cities, raising the risk that New York City faces a more protracted and painful recovery from the pandemic than much of the rest of the country. Overall, about 10% of Manhattan office workers were back as of Sept. 18. That represents only a modest uptick from the 6% to 8% who were back in July, according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • Challenges ahead: With the city’s daily positive testing rate hitting 3.25 percent, Mayor De Blasio noted that he will be watching a rolling seven-day average of the figures and is poised to shut down on-site learning if it hits 3 percent, NYPost noted.
  • Reliance on mass transit: Wall Street bankers have been trickling back, but most of the city’s lawyers, media and publishing employees, tech industry workers, and others have stayed away. Cities that have more driving commuters have seen a higher percentage of workers return.
  • National numbers: Other large metropolitan areas are considerably higher, such as Dallas at 40% and the Los Angeles metro area at 32%. The reoccupation rate in New York’s suburbs is 32%. 
  • Wells Fargo study shows certain property values down 27 percent: The analysis covers 116 struggling properties bundled into CMBS that have had new appraisals since April 1 — 68 of them this month. Of the total, 75 of the mortgages were backed by hotels while 26 were retail properties, Bloomberg noted. [WSJ+NYPost+Bloomberg]

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