New York City’s Recovery Ever So Slightly Stronger Than Predicted

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Bloomberg: I spy something job-y up on my left. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) Photo: Mario Tama/2012 Getty Images

New figures out from the state Labor Department on Thursday show that New York City added 71,400 private sector jobs in the past year, many of those since December, and that the state as a whole regained three quarters of the jobs lost since the recession began in late 2008. (That's compared to about 30 percent nationwide.) Although the latest national employment figures won't be released until later Friday morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office wasted no time in releasing this triumphant statement trumpeting the city's superior economic recovery.

New York City added private sector jobs at a rate almost 60 percent greater than the country as a whole in 2011, and over the last two years, New York City created more jobs than the next 10 largest cities combined.

And that's despite the marked slowdown in hiring on Wall Street, which actually witnessed a string of mass layoffs.

But while the city's job growth (2.3 percent) may beat the national (2.1 percent) and state (1.7 percent) averages, there is another number that clouds this otherwise double-dip-averting picture: the city's 9.3 percent unemployment rate in January. That's up half a percent from the month before, and puts the city a full point above the national unemployment rate. One explanation, proffered by the Times' City Room blog, is that unemployment figures come from a survey of New York residents while jobs numbers rely on a survey of employers. Another possibility is that people who'd previously stopped looking for work, and so dropped out of the labor force, see the city's economy adding jobs and so are getting back out there, a wad of résumés in hand.

But going by City Hall's effusive press release, seems we're only really supposed to focus on the encouraging jobs numbers. Leave that pesky unemployment blip to the naysayers and the Republican presidential campaigns, who need a break from all those fever dreams where Michael Moore endlessly repeats Barack Obama's name followed by the phrase, "a strong economic recovery."