New York City surging

The New York Times reports that New York City has added more jobs over the last five years than during any five year period in the last half century. 425,000 new jobs since the end of 2009. Amazing!

By contrast, since the end of 2009 the state of Michigan has added 268,000 jobs. You read that right: one city has created 157,000 more jobs that our state in what has been ballyhooed as the Michigan comeback.

Its not just Michigan. NYC’s job growth is far outpacing the nation’s. The Times writes: “The dynamism of the city’s economy has fueled a rebound that has been much stronger than for the country as a whole. New York has added three times as many jobs as it lost during the recession. The nation’s gain, however, is well short of twice what it lost.”

What makes this story even more important is the job growth is not coming in finance. The city’s preeminent sector. The Times reports: “Almost every industry in the city has been adding jobs at a healthy pace. Data compiled by the New York State Department of Labor indicates that among the fastest-growing sectors are health services and places that serve food and drinks.” And that: “…fast-growing and well-paying Internet companies like Google, Facebook and BuzzFeed are adding jobs at a fast pace.”

This is more evidence that the low cost/small government places have the best economies conventional wisdom is wrong. As I wrote in a 2011 post:

New York City is probably the highest cost place to do business in America. Not only high state and local taxes, but also high labor costs and, maybe most important, sky high real estate prices. In many ways it is the poster child for big government: big police and fire departments; big park system; public support for the arts; transit, transit, and more transit; one of the few cities with safety net programs over and above the state and federal safety net and on and on and on. Add to that lots of regulation, powerful public employee unions, lots of renters; sky high density; lots of immigrants, gays and folks of different races, religions and ethnicity and you have a recipe for what we are constantly told leads to economic disaster. Wrong!

… Turns out in the real world all those so-called liabilities are assets that lead to prosperity. A big city that works, a government that provides quality basic services and amenities, terrific alternatives to driving, density and welcoming to all. Combine those features with an entrepreneurial culture and you have a place where talent – from across the planet – wants to live and work. And where talent concentrates you get growth and prosperity, not decline and falling income and employment. To get back on the path to prosperity Michigan needs far more – not less – of what New York City has.


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Lou Glazer

Lou Glazer is President and co-founder of Michigan Future, Inc., a non-partisan, non-profit organization. Michigan Future’s mission is to be a source of new ideas on how Michigan can succeed as a world class community in a knowledge-driven economy. Its work is funded by Michigan foundations.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I like your post on New York City. I have never lived there, but during a large part of my career I visited there on business 2-3 times a year. There are certainly a lot of knowledge jobs, especially in the finance sector. New York is a good example of how a strong base of highly skilled knowledge can also create a large number of lower skilled or unskilled service jobs. It seems like all of the highly skilled young people in the professions in New York enjoy eating out, recreation and shopping a lot. This creates a huge number of lower skilled jobs for restaurant workers, service workers and sales people. In addition to all of the skilled millenials, New York seems to have a huge number of lesser skilled people, including many immigrants, who are working hard to get ahead.

    1. Exactly. What is so interesting about the job growth is that in addition to all the hospitality and retail jobs, non finance business and professional services are surging too. Those also are high wage jobs wchich created demand for more local services. Its the kind of diversified growth that every state and region. What NYC shows is the path there is talent driven, not low cost driven.

      1. One thing I like about New York City is the huge diversity of immigrants doing all kinds of work. It makes me realize that in spite of our economic problems, a lot of people think the USA is a good place to be.

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