Private sector employment grew slightly in December 2016, reversing three months of job losses. Public sector employment rose by six hundred, resulting in total gains of one thousand jobs between November and December 2016. Job growth was led by Health Care and Social Assistance, which netted 3,400 jobs, followed by Accommodation and Food Services, and Construction. Several sectors saw job losses this month, chiefly Information, Wholesale Trade, and Arts & Entertainment, all of which lost at least two thousand jobs.
New York City added 63,500 jobs since the end of 2015, growing employment by 1.5% (on par with the US average). The unemployment rate fell to 5.2% from 5.7% in November (unemployment was 5.2% this time in 2015). After adjusting for inflation, average weekly earnings remain at $1,166, largely unchanged from 2015. By comparison, consumer prices rose 2.1%.
The New York City economy grew at an annual rate of 1.7%, reaching $670.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015 (the latest for which official government data is available). Fourth quarter growth outpaced the previous three quarters. According to projections by Moody’s Analytics, New York City’s economy continued to expand at a similar pace through 2016, growing at an annual rate of 1.9%. Moody’s projects a significant acceleration in 2017 with the annual growth rate hitting 2.7% by the fourth quarter.
In November 2016, 577 construction projects worth a collective $1.8 billion were started in New York City and contained 1,161 residential units. These figures are lower than average over the past twelve months, which experienced $2.7 billion worth of projects and 2,500 residential units each month. The Bronx was the only borough to outpace average performances over the last year. While the
Bronx did not see more project starts than normal over the past 12 months, the borough’s projects were 9% more valuable and contained 43% more units than average due to relatively large residential projects, which totaled over 500,000 square feet.
Residential rents in New York City remained unchanged between December and November 2016. At $2,322/month, December rent rates were down 0.5% from December 2015; the first time year-over-year price change has been negative in recent years. Median home values, however, continue to rise. In December 2016, home values reached 626,600 – an all-time high and 10.9% higher than last year. In contrast, the Manhattan office market has been relatively steady through 2016. The direct average rent per square foot of Class A office space was $81 in December, a 2.2% increase from last year. Over the same time, the direct vacancy rate rose 0.8 percentage points to 8.8%.
Indicators of tourism in New York City remained relatively stable in the most recent data with airport traffic moderately up and hotel revenue per available room moderately down from last year. Broadway, which has had a mixed year, saw revenues fall 3.1% between December 2016 and December 2015. Despite a mixed year, Broadway finished the year with 1.0% higher total revenue and 1.9% higher attendance than in 2015. Regional transit saw a modest reversal of recent growth in transit modes serving the metro area outside the city, while New York City transit ridership—which includes subways and buses—increased slightly from last year.