NYC's economy grew by 3.9% in Q4 with private employment surging by 34,000

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New York City’s economy grew at the highest rate of the year in the fourth quarter, Comptroller Scott Stringer said on Tuesday, as gross city product grew 3.9% in the three month period ending Dec. 31.

Releasing the Comptroller’s Quarterly Economic Update, Stringer said employment rose at the fastest quarterly rate in the past four years, as the city’s private sector added 34,000 jobs.

Stringer stressed, however, that over half of the new private-sector jobs were in low-wage industries – continuing a trend seen in past reports.

For the full year, total private-sector jobs in 2018 increased by 74,200 or 1.9%, making last year this the ninth in a row of job creation and the longest sequence of job gains on record.

“In this past year, New York City’s economy has continued its solid performance, and New Yorkers have enjoyed a decade of solid economic growth,” Stringer said.
Additionally, the report showed that average weekday ridership on MTA NYC Transit fell 3.3% in October through November compared to the same period in the previous year. During that same time in 2018, ridership on the Long Island Rail Road rose 1.2% while falling 0.6% on Metro North.

Released every three months, the report also showed that in the fourth quarter:

  • The city’s unemployment rate, adjusted for seasonal variations, fell to 4% from 4.1%, the lowest quarterle rate on record, and averaged 4.1% for the full year of 2018, also the lowest on record.
  • The number of employed city residents rose 6,700 to a record high of almost 4.1 million. The total increase in employed city residents over 2018 was 21,700 or 0.5%.
  • Personal income tax revenues fell 10.3%, or $331.0 million, on a year-over-year basis to about $2.9 billion due to an 85.5% decline in estimated taxes. However, PIT revenues rose 10.9% for the whole 2018 year, the highest growth rate since 17.7% in 2013.
  • Average hourly earnings of all private NYC employees rose 3.4% on a year-over-year basis to $36.69. For the year 2018, AHE rose 3.1% in New York City.
  • New commercial leasing activity in Manhattan increased 45.1% to over 10.2 million square feet in the fourth quarter, the biggest fourth quarter increase on record.
  • Despite the increase in new commercial leasing, Manhattan’s overall commercial vacancy rate increased to 9.2% in Q4 2018 due largely to increase supply.
  • Total venture capital investment in the New York metro area rose to a record high of $13.33 billion in 2018, up 8.7% from 2017, despite a decline in the fourth quarter.

“Too few of our neighbors are sharing the fruits of this expansion,” Stringer said. “With looming risks to continued growth, insufficient gains in good-paying jobs, and a continued affordable housing crunch, we need to set the foundations for fair, equitable growth that lifts all New Yorkers up.”

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