Is Manufacturing Missing the Party?
Robert Sammons June 26, 2013, 7 a.m.
The private sector job count for New York City hit the nice round number of 3,397,000 in May, surpassing the former record set in April. (The April number, by the way, was revised downward slightly.) Total and private sector job gains were rather slim after the very strong months of March and April.
Job totals on the office side of the column (professional and business services, financial activities and information services) actually fell slightly in May, down 1,500 positions. This was the fourth month in the past year when the totals in the office segment declined. The information sector (generally non-Internet publishing) was partially responsible for the most recent drop, along with business services (administrative and computer systems). Financial activities, on the other hand, recorded an increase, up 1,100 positions, and this sector’s performance was led by none other than real estate, up 900 positions! All told, office jobs remain strong, up by 18,200 positions over the past 12 months.
Taking into account both office and non-office jobs, the strongest sector overall for May was—no big surprise here, really—leisure and hospitality, which gained 3,700 positions. This comes after a strong (albeit downwardly revised) gain of 3,400 in April.
Amid all this data lies one of the most intriguing figures: the manufacturing sector lost 500 positions in May, falling to a total of 74,500 jobs. This sector has not posted a positive number since October 2012. In fact, since July 2007 there have been fewer than 100,000 manufacturing jobs in NYC, a field that employed over 200,000 as recently as 1997. The sharp decline in a sector that historically has been an important part of the NYC economy—and one that remains so due to headquarters positions and a powerful “Made in America” movement—is rather amazing. Perhaps even more remarkable is that the remaining sectors, some even new to the scene, have more than picked up the slack, leaving the city stronger than ever.