The New York City Arts, Tourism, Entertainment, And Events Industry Has Been Crushed! Billions Of Dollars and Countless Jobs Have Evaporated.

Pedestrians walk in a nearly empty Times Square ahead of the New Year's Eve celebration Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Millions of Americans had a routine before March 2020, and parts of that routine included dining out, sporting events and frequenting all kinds of theaters.

Those routines were deeply affected and perhaps changed forever, and New York’s formerly grand scale of opportunities is perhaps the largest arts and entertainment example of COVID-19 devastation.

A New York State Comptroller’s Office report this week probably comes as no surprise: The global pandemic buried the arts crowd.

The city’s convention and tourist bureau estimated that nearly 67 million tourists in 2019 accounted for $70 billion in economic activity in New York City. In 2020, the number of tourists is expected to bottom out around 23 million.

Some other highlights from the report:

In 2019, New York City’s arts, entertainment and recreation sector employed 93,500 people in 6,250 establishments. These jobs had an average salary of $79,300 and generated $7.4 billion in total wages.

In 2019, 128,400 residents (including nearly 31,000 self-employed residents) drew their primary source of earnings from the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.

From 2009-19, employment in the sector grew by 42 percent, faster than the 30 percent rate for total private sector employment.

As of December 2020, arts, entertainment and recreation employment declined by 66 percent from one year earlier, the largest decline among the City’s economic sectors.

Federal Paycheck Protection Program loans supported 62 percent of firms and 70 percent of employment in the sector.

“The Covid-19 outbreak has had a profound and negative impact on the industry,” Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Wednesday in a statement. “It has forced facilities to close, thrust thousands into unemployment and pushed businesses to the brink of collapse.”

The relief programs are important but, DiNapoli concluded, New Yorkers need more to “help the City’s many stages keep the lights on.”

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