[Anecdotes and arrows in dark red by Mish]
We look to three possible explanations for why these two employment measures have diverged so sharply in New York City. First, and most obvious, is commuters. Jobs in the city held by people who commute from the rest of the metro area are counted in the establishment survey, but not in the household survey. If most of the new jobs were going to commuters and few to city residents, that would help explain some of this divergence.
A second possible explanation for the rise of the gap might reflect the treatment of self-employed workers in the two surveys. As the recovery took hold, it could have been the case that large numbers of workers shifted from self-employment (counted in the household survey, but not the establishment survey) to a job in a business (counted in both surveys). This shift would not be reflected in the household survey, because the worker was already counted as employed, but it would show up as a rise in the establishment survey. While current self-employment data are not available for New York City, nationwide data indicate that there has indeed been a shift away from self-employment since 2009. If a similar pattern occurred in New York City—even to a considerably greater degree—it would only explain a fraction of the divergence between the two employment measures.
Finally, multiple jobholders could be a factor. A resident of the city who holds two jobs would be counted as one employed person in the household survey, but counted twice in the establishment survey. An increase in multiple jobholding in the city during this recovery would give rise to a gap. As with the self-employed, we do not have direct evidence of multiple jobholding among New York City residents, nor is there evidence of a rise in multiple jobholding in this recovery at the national level. So unless the city deviates significantly from the nation, this explanation holds little water.