Brooklyn Boro

Brooklyn showing ‘phenomenal’ job growth

August 20, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
New York City has become an engine for job growth in the region over the last several years, with gains in the outer boroughs outpacing those in Manhattan, according to William Dudley, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Image courtesy of the NY Fed

NY Fed: NYC engine for jobs in region

New York City has become an engine for job growth in the region over the last several years, with gains in the outer boroughs outpacing those in Manhattan, according to William Dudley, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

He made his remarks on Thursday at the New York Fed’s economic press briefing on the regional economy.

Dudley’s report dovetailed with figures New York State Comptroller Thomas DeNapoli released in 2014, showing that private sector employment in Brooklyn increased by 19.8 percent between 2003 and 2012, a faster rate of growth than any other borough and nearly twice the rate of the rest of the city.

Dudley also announced that middle-wage jobs — such as teachers, construction workers, administrative assistants and truck drivers — have increased more than those at the high and low end of the pay scale, reversing a decades–long trend.

The city’s strong job growth comes despite the relatively sluggish performance of the financial services industry, Dudley said. He pointed instead to increases in a number of areas including the city’s flourishing technology sector, which includes categories like internet publishing, online shopping, and scientific research and development. Between 2010 and 2015, the city’s securities industry gained 12,000 jobs, while technology-related jobs increased by 53,000.

Brooklyn is booming

These figures are no surprise to Andrew Hoan, executive VP at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. Hoan told the Brooklyn Eagle that the Chamber will be releasing updated numbers in October showing “phenomenal growth” in jobs, especially technology-related jobs, from 2009 to 2013.

“Business is booming,” he said. “Brooklyn is one of the largest job hubs in the entire country.” As of 2014, there were 567,000 jobs in Brooklyn, Hoan said, and he expects that number to be higher in the October release.

One measure of innovation and high-tech employment in the borough is the growing number of patents filed, he said. Over the past five years, there’s been a 120 percent increase in the number of filings in Brooklyn.

Hoan pointed to companies like Etsy, Tough Mudder, and Vice Media as examples of the growth of innovative businesses in Brooklyn.

In the case of Etsy, “15 years ago they had five employees. Now they have 500,” he said. “Their wages are substantial at all levels and skillsets.”

Tough Mudder is headquartered in MetroTech, with “100 people in Class A office space,” he said. And Vice Media is a “very Williamsburg company.”

Manufacturing and the “maker” economy are also exploding in Brooklyn, he said. While big industry has mostly departed, now there are 5- to 10-people furniture, food, wine and beer makers. “They pay good wages. These are those middle class jobs,” he said.

Overall, most jobs in Brooklyn are focused in three sectors: healthcare and social services, retail, and tourism and entertainment. Hoan said that these sectors alone account for roughly 70 percent of local employment.

However, “Brooklyn specifically is seeing huge increase in prime age working adults with advanced degrees. And companies are following the talent,” he said.

The number of adults with advanced degrees moving to Brooklyn tripled from 2009 to 2013,” Hoan said. “The trend is going straight to the roof.”

While the Fed’s Dudley speculated that job growth increased in the outer boroughs because of “spillover” from Manhattan, Hoan says that’s not the case anymore.

“We welcome back office, but we’re seeing more and more this is the front office,” he said.

“While the New York Fed is very good, they are responsible for the entire region and carry out top-level macroanalysis,” Hoan said. “We’re on the ground. We see these businesses in action.”

Hoan projects continued growth in Brooklyn’s job centers including Downtown, Sunset Park, Gowanus and Red Hook, and he sees an increase in light industry and media employment in neighborhoods like Bushwick and East New York.

“It’s a positive picture and it will continue,” he said.