New York, superior to the nation as a whole in nearly all respects, can add one more category in which it dominates: The Great Recession hurts in the Empire City, but New Yorkers are far less scarred by our nation’s economic woes than the average American.
Thanks to real estate prices that have failed to fall apace with those in other big cities; the tourists that continue to clog our sidewalks; and, yes, that wondrous moneymaking machinery on Wall Street, New York life could be a lot worse. We could be like the rest of the country!
The New York Times today reports that the city has been adding jobs for the past six months. In July, the number of jobs in the city was 3 percent lower than it had been in the heady summer of 2008 — before Lehman Brothers, TARP, and the near-collapse of the financial system. The whole country, by contrast, saw jobs fall 4.5 percent over the same period, and New York’s unemployment rate is lower than that of the nation.
There are some caveats. Economists say that people who lost their jobs in New York got dinged super hard, and that managers have seen their pay go up while low-level workers have taken pay cuts. The city’s fanciest restaurants are going gangbusters, while small-time diners are getting crushed.
So, to the unemployed, underemployed and underpaid — to the struggling and despondent — cheer up! This city is home to an exceptional proportion of people who’re doing much, much better than you.