Bronx Unemployment Reaches Levels Unseen Since the Great Depression

Not since the Great Depression of 1929, which lasted for four years, has The Bronx seen unemployment so high.

According to newly released labor statistics, The Bronx has the highest unemployment rate in New York City at a whopping 24.7% leaving 1 in 4 residents out of a job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

Back in April during the beginning of the pandemic, unemployment had shot up over 10 percentage points to 16.5%.

Two months later, after being the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis where not only did the borough have the highest rates of infection for COVID-19 but also the highest death rate from the disease, The Bronx is in a full blown economic crisis and it’s not something we are prepared for.

Hundreds of people line up at food pantries in the South Bronx.

We already face the highest rates of eviction and families overwhelmed by rent burden. We are also the hungriest borough. If we don’t get the city, state, and federal aid that we need, all the progress we’ve made these past few decades will be erased.

According to Crain’s:

“A May report from the Center for an Urban Future warned that the city’s outer boroughs would face steeper job losses from the pandemic because of the fields residents commonly work in.

Fewer than 10% of residents on the Upper East Side work in industries where layoffs have been most prevalent—restaurants, hotels, retail and personal-care services—while 27% of residents in Elmhurst, Queens, and 24% in the Bronx neighborhood of Norwood work in those fields, the report found.

“Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the think tank, said Tuesday’s data provides “further proof that the economic effects from this crisis—just like the health impacts—have not been felt equally across the city.” “It’s incredibly alarming that roughly one in every four Bronx residents are unable to find work right now,” Bowles said. “We’re going to see a massive uptick in poverty there unless unemployment benefits are extended.”

Now, more than ever, we’re going to have to look out for each other.

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.