NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Future of New York City

October 23, 2003

New York City is suffering from long-term economic weaknesses according to a new report from the Center for an Urban Future. The hyper stock market boom of the late 1990s temporarily deflected attention away from the city's economic vulnerability. Unless changes are made, New York City will lose jobs and industries to other cities.

The authors find that, during both boom and bust, the city vastly underperformed the rest of the region and the United States as a whole. For instance, with regards to employment:

  • Between 1969 and 2000 -- the two peak year for employment in the city -- the five boroughs lost 75,000 jobs (a 2 percent decline) while the state gained 1.45 million jobs (a 20 percent increase) and the nation added 61.3 million (an 87 percent gain).
  • Over the past two years, the city accounted for 97 percent of all job losses in the state.
  • The city's share of jobs in the nation's securities industry declined from 36 percent in 1987 to 23 percent in 2002.
  • Between 1990 and 2002, the securities industry grew by 248 percent in New Jersey, but by just 0.6 percent in the five boroughs.

Additionally, New York City is not fostering further growth. Its economic environment is decidedly poor, say the authors. According to a 2002 ranking by the National Commission on Entrepreneurship, New York City has the lowest "growth company index" of any of the 14 labor market areas in the United States with populations of 3 million or more. Out of the largest 50 American cities, New York ranked 46th in a 2000 survey of "entrepreneurial hotspots" by Cognetics Inc.

Source: Jonathan Bowles and Joel Kotkin, "Engine Failure," Center for an Urban Future, September 8, 2003.


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