Remote Work’s $12B Economic Cost to Manhattan

Although the volume of employees heading to their offices in New York City has rebounded on Tuesdays through Thursdays, Monday’s and Fridays continue to fall significantly below pre-pandemic volume. The findings of an analysis by Bloomberg News of new exclusive data from the WFH Research group on in-person work revealed that “Manhattan workers are spending at least $12.4 billion less a year due to about 30% fewer days in the office,” which equates to about $4,661 less spent per year by the average worker. The figure is calculated by “multiplying the annual inflation-adjusted loss in spending per worker by the US Census Bureau’s estimated nearly 2.7 million commuters and residents who worked in Manhattan in 2019. The economic loss represents “missed sales for restaurants, retailers and other businesses the drive New York’s economic engine,” while the broader impact results in the lowering of transit revenue and a shrinking of both the commercial property tax base and the labor income for people who provide goods and services to those workers. Recovery of foot traffic in the outer boroughs reached 85%, partly fueled by the neighborhoods where remote workers live turning into a new kind of business district, in contrast to Manhattan’s recovery rate of a lagging 78%.