In a City Hall address on Thursday afternoon to unveil a new budget, Mayor Bloomberg noted Manhattan’s office market as a barometer of the city’s overall economic health:
The commercial real estate market remains vibrant and the vacancy rate in Midtown Manhattan is 4%, the lowest in the country. Strong Wall Street profits in the last quarter of calendar year 2006, led to the second-best year ever for New York's finance industry.
So everybody clap your hands and say yeah! A strong local economy has generally meant a strong office market (low vacancy rates, higher asking rents) due to the office-based jobs that such an economy generates; and elected officials can then point to a strong office market as a sign of a strong local economy. Everyone wins in this symbiosis.
Especially landlords and building traders.