Look Out–Flying Numbers!

This can be an exciting time of year if you’re a numbers enthusiast—whether you’re an actual economist or merely a research data hobbyist (they exist, really.)

Why is this time of year so bountiful for the numerically inclined? Because now is when benchmark revisions are released for many of the major markets, including New York City.

For now, I’d like to focus on the office sector, and let’s begin with one of the more interesting (and broad) tenant categories in that sector: information. Information, interestingly enough, includes little to nothing of the broad tech (internet) sector. Its primary focus is jobs in publishing (except internet), broadcasting (except internet), motion picture and sound recording and telecommunications. The revised numbers for 2013 showed +4,600 positions, versus the original estimate of +1,200 positions, resulting in a healthy increase. For January of this year, there was another increase of +1,700.

The financial activities category, meanwhile, includes everything from banking and securities to real estate and insurance. Unfortunately, 2013 was not a stellar year for this category, as the revised numbers show a decline of -600 positions, versus the original estimate of +3,800. Securities was the major culprit in the downward revision—dropping by -2,200 versus the original estimate of +1,600. For January, financial activities returned to the positive side of the ledger at +600.

Another catch-all category is professional & business services. This category features many of the tech and media firms, particularly those companies that focus on the professional services area. The revision showed that the combined group saw a +13,200 gain in 2013, versus the original estimate of +4,100—a major upwards adjustment. For January, there were another +1,400 positions added.

For the office sector as a whole, job gains almost doubled over the original estimate—coming in at +17,200 versus the original figure of +9,100. Moreover, as of January 2014, we have 1,271,600 (traditional) office sector jobs in New York City, the most since May 2001. The key now is to continue the progress made in the TAMI fields (tech/advertising/media/information), while making adjustments in financial activities—and the securities subcategory, in particular.

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