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NYC unemployment rate falls as more people make less money

New York City has enjoyed itʼs fifth straight year of job growth, according to a new report.

But more than half of the 90,000 private sector jobs were in the low wage sector.

In his Quarterly Economic Update of the city’s economic performance in the fourth quarter of 2015 released by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said, “The good news is that unemployment continues to decline and more New Yorkers are employed than ever before in modern history.

“But too many of these new jobs are in low-wage industries, a sector of our economy that has seen a decline in real wages during our recovery from the Great Recession. When wages are decreasing for hard-working low-income New Yorkers, they can’t afford to raise their families and build our communities, which is why we must continue to push to raise the minimum wage and ensure all workers share in our economic gains.”

In the report, jobs in high-wage industries are considered those which pay over $117,000 annually; jobs in medium-wage industries pay between $59,000 and $117,000; and low-wage industries pay below $59,000.

The analysis found that professional and business services added 5,100 jobs last quarter, education and health services added 2,400 jobs, financial activities added 2,300 jobs, construction added 2,000 jobs, leisure and hospitality added 1,300 jobs, and information and manufacturing each added 100 jobs in 4Q15 compared to the previous quarter.

The City added a net total of 10,700 private sector jobs in the fourth quarter as compared to an increase of 27,200 in the third quarter of 2015.

High-wage sectors added 6,400 jobs and low-wage sectors added 9,000 jobs while medium-wage sectors, including professions such as education and health care, lost 4,700 jobs.

In total, New York City created 97,700 new jobs in 2015. However, the City’s quarterly private-sector job growth of 1.2 percent was below the national growth of 2.4 percent.

New York City civilian employment reached a record level of about four million, as the City’s unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent from 5.4 percent in the third quarter and the employment-to-population ratio reached a record 57.8 percent.

Of the City’s total private-sector job gains in the fourth quarter, 84 percent were in export sectors, which generate income from outside the city.

Continued job growth was one of the factors that lowered New York City’s unemployment rate to 4.9 percent, which is 0.1 percentage points below the national rate. The last time that the City’s unemployment rate fell below the national rate was in 2011.

From 2009 to 2015, after adjusting for inflation, real wages for private-sector workers declined in all boroughs except for Manhattan (where they increased by 7.5 percent).

Real wages declined 3.0 percent in Queens, 2.9 percent in Brooklyn, 2.5 percent in the Bronx, and 1.6 percent in Staten Island.

New York City’s economy, as measured by Gross City Product (GCP), grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2015. During the same period, U.S. GDP grew at a 0.7 percent rate.

For all of 2015, the City recorded economic growth of 3.4 percent, an improvement from 2.1 percent growth in 2014.

RThe City’s vacancy rate for commercial property in Manhattan fell to 8.5 percent, its lowest fourth-quarter level since 2008.

On a year-over-year basis, the commercial vacancy rate dropped one percentage point in Midtown, 0.9 percentage points in Midtown South, and 0.3 percentage points in Downtown.

Residential apartment sales in Queens rose 32.7 percent in the fourth quarter, followed by a 24.5 percent increase in Brooklyn and 9.4 percent growth in Manhattan. Home prices increased in all three boroughs.

Venture capital investment in the New York metro area rose 34 percent to about $1.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015, the highest fourth-quarter level since 2000.

For all of 2015, New York metro area investments climbed 38.7 percent to over $7.3 billion.

“New York City continues to be the engine that could, with robust job growth and economic expansion outpacing the nation. “However, not enough New Yorkers are feeling the recovery where it matters the most: in their wallets,ˮ

“While the City’s economy continued to grow through 2015, the prospects for strong growth in 2016 have diminished with recent volatility in the stock markets and a global economic slowdown.”

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