Friday, September 16th, 2011
Crain’s New York Business recently released its 2011 City Facts compilation and chose to title it, “New York Stands High” as they found much to celebrate in the numbers. Among them:
- The most incredible stat to me is that NYC jobs in 2011 fell only 56K short of their all time peak in 1969. If the economy ever gets back on track, this seems likely to only go up.
- Despite its roots in a financial crisis, Crain’s labels the recent recession as “The Great Recession That Wasn’t”, describing it as “one of the mildest since WWII” in terms of NYC job losses. This will no doubt infuriate bailout skeptics.
- The number of companies operating in downtown Manhattan now surpasses its pre-9/11 total. Rents have been stagnant, however and vacancies are projected to climb.
- The tech sector finally surpassed its dotcom/Silicon Alley level peak in 2000, and NYC is on the verge of overtaking Boston as the #2 destination for tech venture capital investment.
- Though some claim many people were missed, the 2010 census showed an increase in NYC population and the city is now at an all time population high.
- The population is increasingly diverse, with, for example, Asians now accounting for over one million city residents.
- The population of downtown Manhattan grew by 150% between 2000 and 2011. Downtown apartment prices have more than doubled since 9/11.
- Between 2007 and 2011, national home prices dropped by 19.1% from peak, while Manhattan apartments actually went up 9.1% in price.
The numbers aren’t uniformly good for the city, but it has performed very well comparatively. I think this illustrates more than anything the emerging two-track economy of which we’ve read so much, which is fueling an ever widening income gap, etc. What’s good for NYC isn’t necessarily good for America, and the model of success represented by the city (as well as other outliers like Washington, DC) simply can’t be replicated elsewhere. Thus these places don’t really represent a model of success for others to emulate, and they have only a limited amount to say on what urban policy should be elsewhere. Nevertheless, in a global economy, America does need places like NYC and Silicon Valley to be as competitive and prosperous as they can be. The challenge is how to bring about a more broad based prosperity that provides jobs and upward mobility to average Americans.