Well, the employment numbers are in for the full year of 2013. Overall, job growth was phenomenal, with a total of 95,600 private sector positions added over 12 months. There is some concern, however, that office job growth isn’t quite keeping pace with the health, leisure and hospitality, education and retail sectors.
For office employment statistics, NGKF includes the traditional sectors of information, financial activities (banks, securities, insurance and real estate), business services and professional services. During 2013, this segment grew by 9,100 positions. However, that rate of expansion appears significantly slower when it’s compared to the past three years—2010 to 2012—when growth was 34,200, 30,800 and 24,400, respectively. Through October, office positions were increasing at a steady pace. In fact, at that point, New York City had reached 1,257,400 office positions—this represented the greatest number of office jobs in the city since July 2001. Unfortunately, though, November witnessed a reduction of 4,900 positions and 800 additional jobs were lost in December. It’s worth noting that many of the
November losses were experienced in the professional services sector (including computer systems design).
Nonetheless, before people become overly concerned about the reduction in traditional office sector jobs, it’s critical to consider the growing diversity of office space users. For instance, companies in the health and education categories accounted for approximately 7% of the office space leased in 2013; in 2012, the figure was 5%. With those industries growing quickly, it’s likely that they will continue to account for a growing portion of the office space market, through outpatient clinics, lab space, private schools, etc.
In the near term, we can anticipate a brief delay in the job numbers over the next couple of months, as it’s “benchmark season,” i.e., it’s time for the numbers from the previous two years to be revised. Generally speaking, there should only be minor changes. Let’s hope for additional positive news.