During a news conference Wednesday, de Blasio said the city is facing $9 billion in lost revenue, with a possibility that losses could end up actually being much higher.
The city council has found $2 billion worth of budget cuts, but it needs to identify another $1 billion, the mayor said.
“Here is a way to think about it -- for every hundred million dollars in city budget -- that's about 2,200 city employees, on average,” de Blasio said. “To close a $1 billion dollar gap would mean laying off 22,000 city employees, which is a staggering number.”
The city employs about 330,000 municipal workers.
De Blasio said the city is “prepared” to initiate this type of a plan if necessary, though it is hoping to find alternatives from lawmakers in Albany or Washington, D.C., adding that furloughs would be the last resort.
“It's going to take a while for our economy to come back. It's going to take quite a while for our revenue comeback,” de Blasio explained. “So that is the blunt reality today.”
The city is working to get a budget approved by June 30. Any layoff plan wouldn’t take place until the fall.
Criminal justice reform advocates have proposed taking $1 billion from the NYPD, with the intent of transmitting those funds elsewhere and not eliminating them entirely.
The mayor indicated the city is not optimistic about receiving additional stimulus from the federal government before the end of July.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has repeatedly called on the federal government to issue more relief money to states that have been hardest hit by the virus outbreak.