The Times this morning has a general overview of how well we’ve fared here in the city in the economic recovery versus the rest of the country. The good news first:
The typical New Yorker is less likely to be unemployed or facing foreclosure or bankruptcy than the average American. Homes in the metropolitan area have held their value better than in most other big cities as more people are moving to the region than deserting it. Tourists continue to flock to the city, filling hotel rooms at the highest rate in the country, and at rising prices. Wall Street — still the engine that powers the city — roared back faster than expected, eliminated far fewer jobs than had been forecast, resumed paying out big bonuses and has begun to hire again. Despite a faltering stock market and recent signals that the national economy is losing steam, economists expect New York to remain on the rebound.
Sounds good, right? But then the paper gets ominous. “Away from the office towers and rooftop cocktail lounges, long-term unemployment is a persistent problem, and young job seekers are losing hope,” writer Patrick McGeehan intones. “A survey in late July of city residents who meet or barely exceed the definition of poor found that only about one-fifth of them thought the city’s economy was improving.”
Okay, but that’s just a poll, right? People always perceive things to be worse than they are, especially when it comes to class distinctions. Or so you’d hope. Actually, according to an analysis at the Fiscal Policy Institute:
The median pay of managerial workers in the city was $990 a week in the first four months of this year, up 11 percent in three years. But the median weekly pay for nonmanagers was $472, or 10.4 percent less than they earned in the first four months of 2007.
The new jobs numbers are out on Friday. As of the latest calculation, the city’s unemployment rate is 9.4 percent, which is just under the national rate of 9.5 percent. Unfortunately, analysts (and the stock market) don’t anticipate that Friday’s numbers will improve on either front.