Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran revealed the results of a comprehensive study that examined the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on Long Island’s economy and called for federal support to assist in recovery.
According to the report, in what was created by consulting firm HR&A, along with assistance from the Nassau and Suffolk industrial development agencies, more than 270,000 Long Island jobs were lost throughout the first two months of the crisis, a rate higher than New York City and any other state suburban county, with a projection of 375,000 set for the end of the year.
“These numbers are devastating,” Bellone stated. “This report makes clear that COVID-19 has turned the Long Island economy upside down. And what do we need to do to recover? Three words: Federal Disaster Assistance. This burden should not be placed on the shoulders of local taxpayers, essential employees, and first responders.”
Curran added that a disproportionate share of job losses were found across Hispanic and Latino workers, low paying jobs, and workers of low education. The Hospitality industry was affected the most with more than 82,000 people losing their jobs. Following is the HealthCare sector, which totaled 59,000 losses, including personal care aids, home health aids, techs, and more than 6,000 registered nurses.
To compensate for financial losses, the county executives will continue to assist small, women-owned, and minority-run businesses in ways that include loans, free PPE kits, food distributions, access to testing and health care, easing eviction enforcement, and delaying taxes.
In response to a massive drop in sales tax revenue resulting from the stalled economic activity, the county executives urged Congress to pass the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, to put forth comprehensive funding packages for state and local governments.
“We listened, we stayed indoors, we shutdown, we did the right thing, and now we want to make sure that we can get everything cranking again and we’re calling on the Senate to help,” Curran stated. “Please pass the HEROES act.”
Bellone added that it will be a long road to economic recovery either way, but without help, it will be even longer.
“If the federal government does the right thing here, then we will be on a pathway to recover from COVID-19 over the next couple years” said Bellone. “If they fail to provide the federal disaster assistance that is justified as necessary, then we are looking at seeing the devastation from this extended out more than a decade. And that is unacceptable.”
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