2011 is shaping up to be a fairly good year for job creation in New York City.
An analysis of government data shows the five boroughs added 49,000 jobs in the first 11 months of 2011, - almost double the number added in 2010. What's more, the pace of New York's recovery is much faster than that of the nation. The city has recovered about 60% of the jobs lost in the Great Recession, versus just 30% recovered across the United States.
"Fifty thousand isn't bad, but it's moderate, and it's certainly better than it's been," said Barbara Byrne Denham, chief economist with the real estate firm Eastern Consolidated, who did the analysis.
The biggest gains were in retail, food services and hospitality, and education. Higher-paid professions like the law, insurance, and banking lagged. A surprising bright point, Denham says, was an almost six percent gain in the number of jobs in the advertising business.
But healthcare, which has been strong for much of the past decade, shed more than 3,000 jobs, the result of several hospital closures, concentrated in the outer boroughs. In August, Peninsula hospital in the Rockaways sent layoff notices to nearly 900 workers.
Despite the overall positive employment trend, joblessness remains high in New York City. The city had an 8.9% unemployment rate in November 2011, higher than the nation's (8.6%), and equal to the rate in November 2010. Even when jobs are created, the unemployment does not always sink, in part because the long-term unemployed may begin looking for work again.
A key area to watch in 2012 will be financial services. Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and the Bank of New York-Mellon all announced layoffs in 2011.
Byrne warns the full effect of the pink slips may not be measurable until well into 2012. "A lot of people when they lose their jobs, they get a severance package, and they're technically on the payroll for a number of months," Denham said. "So there's always a delay with the reporting of these job losses."
New York is very dependent on high-paying securities industry jobs, both for tax revenues, and for the money those workers spend on businesses and services, like dry cleaners, day care, and home renovations.