As New York City experiences an unprecedented wave of prosperity, this success comes with a set of very real challenges, James Patchett, President and CEO of the NYC Economic Development Corp., said on Friday.

The city’s unemployment rate has fallen to a record low of 4% while jobs have risen to a record high of 4.5 million, Patchett told a meeting of the Citizens Budget Commission in Manhattan. But with each achievement, there is problem that must be addressed, he said.

“For every company that’s moving to New York, there’s a small business struggling to pay its rent, for every new high-rise building, there’s a family struggling to stay in its neighborhood, and for every growing tech startup, there’s a low-wage worker searching for his place in the new economy,” Patchett said.

James Patchett, President and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corp.
James Patchett, President and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corp. Chip Barnett

The NYCEDC is the leading agency for promoting economic growth in each of the city’s five boroughs. Patchett said the problems of the day were not the only challenges the city will ever face and that the economic success of the current moment won’t last forever.

“That’s why it’s our goal to simultaneously address the problems of today and prepare the city for tomorrow,” he said. “If we only focus on the problems of today, we risk having the problems of yesterday become the problems of tomorrow again.”

Looking at future job creators, Patchett said one area of growing importance was cybersecurity.

“As the threat of online cyberattacks increases, the cybersecurity field continues to grow rapidly,” he said. “Postings for these jobs are up 74% and the industry is expected to bring in more than $100 billion by 2020.”

He added that these jobs pay good wages and offer real career ladders for people at varying levels of education.

“New York is incredibly well-positioned to become the next home for cybersecurity," he said. “Quite frankly, we should be the leader in the field – we have the world’s largest financial institutions who are the biggest cybersecurity buyers outside of the federal government. But right now we still lag behind Tel Aviv, Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley.”

Patchett said the city is partnering with industry and academic leaders to build the first of its kind hub for cyber innovation

“We estimate that our investments will enable the growth of up to 10,000 jobs in this industry,” he said.

Patchett joined the NYCEDC this February after serving as the Chief of Staff to Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development. Previously, he was vice president of the urban investment group at Goldman Sachs.

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