NEW YORK—The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today presented an analysis of regional employment trends which signal modest improvements in economic activity over the past few months, after roughly two years of decline. Since the downturn began, job losses have been less severe across most of New York State than the national average and have been roughly on par with the national average in Northern New Jersey. However, Puerto Rico has sustained more severe job losses and continues to lag other parts of the region, said New York Fed regional economists at a regional employment briefing at the Bank.
Northern New Jersey
The proportion of jobs lost during the recession in northern New Jersey was roughly on par with the national average. Statewide, the labor market has steadied recently, as unemployment edged down and private-sector job growth turned up modestly. A recovery of lost jobs in finance, professional and business services and construction may help spur employment growth statewide.
Downstate New York and Fairfield County, Connecticut
As of early 2010, employment in downstate New York and Fairfield County, Connecticut has stabilized. New York City private-sector employment had strong momentum leading into the recession, resulting in a later and less severe downturn than the nation. Long Island suffered proportionally fewer job losses, while Fairfield County, Connecticut and the Lower Hudson Valley have seen steeper job losses than other areas in the region.
New York City Financial Sector
Job losses in the New York City securities industry are moderately lower compared to previous recessions, while the decline in real earnings is roughly comparable. Several possibilities may explain this trend, including a shift in the skill composition of labor in the securities industry over time which has resulted in less demand for lower skilled workers in the New York City securities sector today. Since the average compensation of each securities job is far greater than the average nonfinancial job, these losses have a far-reaching impact on local demand for goods and services. Securities sector job and earnings losses also add further stress to state and local government budgets, which were already affected by weak state and local economies.
Upstate New York
Job losses in every upstate New York metropolitan area during the recession have been less severe than the national average. A smaller share of construction jobs (a source of the steepest job losses nationally) coupled with a slower decline rate of economic activity, contributes to the region's more stable performance. Growth in educational and health services jobs has also helped counterbalance declines in construction, manufacturing and other job sectors. In terms of jobs, Binghamton and Elmira have been the worst performing metropolitan areas in the region, while Utica, Glens Falls, and Ithaca are above the national average.
The Commonwealth entered into a deep recession nearly two years before the mainland U.S. and has yet to show signs of bottoming out. Private-sector employment appears to have steadied, but public-sector employment—which accounts for nearly 30 percent of jobs in Puerto Rico—has fallen sharply since mid-2009 in response to severe fiscal stress.
2010 Regional Employment Press Briefing »