Economic Research & Analysis

June 2015 Economic Snapshot

Inside this Volume

Private employment in New York City rose by 14,000 between April and May 2015.
The unemployment rate fell to 6.4% between April and May 2015.
The Manhattan Class A office vacancy rate was 8.6% in May 2015, while the average asking rent was $77 PSF.
Hotel occupancy was 91.2% in April 2015, down from 92.4% in April 2014.
Passengers in New York City area airports totaled 9.9 million in March 2015, up 3.7% from March 2014.


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#62 Immigrant Employment Trends in New York City

This month's economic snapshot looks at Immigrant Employment Trends in New York City.


  • Private sector jobs in New York City rose by 14,000 in May 2015 after a loss of 1,200 jobs in April 2015.
  • Government jobs in the city fell by 100 between April and May 2015.
  • Since May 2014, private sector employment has risen by 94,600 jobs or 2.7%
  • New York City’s unemployment rate was 6.4% in May 2015, down from 6.5% one month prior

Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Population Trends in New York City

  • New York City has historically attracted job seekers from outside the United States. In 2013, foreign-born immigrants accounted for 42.7% of all New York City workers, 37.0% of all New York City residents, and 46.0% of the New York City labor force. As of 2013, over 1.9 million immigrants to the United States worked in New York City; of those, 1.6 million lived in New York City.
  • In 2013, the greatest number of foreign-born workers in New York City hailed from the Dominican Republic (220,030), China—including Hong Kong and Taiwan—(200,820) and Mexico (124,160). Jamaican immigrants comprised the fourth largest population (99,060), followed by Ecuadorians (86,000) (see figure I for regional breakdown of civilian employment).

  • From 2000 to 2013, the share of foreign-born New York City migrants from Latin America dropped 9.9 percentage points. Conversely, over the same period, the percent of foreign-born New York City migrants arriving from Asia rose by 7.4 percentage points1. Specifically, from 2000 to 2013, the foreign-born Chinese population in New York City rose from 261,600 to 377,800, an increase of more than 40%.2
  • Indians commute to work at the highest rate of any group, with 75,900 Indian immigrants working in New York City, but just 40,400 Indian workers living in New York City.

  • A disproportionate share (47.6%) of incorporated businesses in New York City are owned and operated by foreign-born workers. Additionally, of employees working for family owned businesses or farms, 57.2% are foreign-born.
  • New York City residents born in Colombia appear to be the most entrepreneurial foreign-born group; nearly 20% of all Colombian civilian employees living in New York City run their own business (both non-incorporated and incorporated) as their primary job. New York City workers born in Korea are the most entrepreneurial foreign-born group, as 18.0% of all Korean civilian employees working in New York City own their business (see figure II).

  • While Native-born workers comprise 49.9% of the self-employed worker population, they account for 65.8% of personal income for self-employed workers. Foreign-born workers account for just 34.2% of the personal income for self-employed workers but make up 50.1% of the population.
  • For both Native-born and foreign-born New York City residents, educational, health, and social services is the primary sector of employment, with 27.0% and 25.5% employment rates respectively (see Figure III).

1 U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 Decennial Census; 2013 American Community Survey, 1-Year Estimates
2 Ibid

Real Estate and Construction

Manhattan Office Market

  • In May 2015, the Manhattan Class A direct vacancy rate held steady at 8.6%, the same as one-month prior, while the average rental rate increased slightly to $77 PSF
  • Direct vacancy rates fell to 8.0% for Midtown and to 3.8% for Midtown South Class A office space. Direct rental rates for Midtown South and Downtown went unchanged between April and May 2015
  • The Midtown South Class A sublease rental rate was $73 PSF in May 2015—up substantially from $19 PSF one-month prior


For the twelve months ending in May 2015:

  • Building projects (including new, additions, and alterations) that started construction in New York City fell by 3.7% while infrastructure (non-building) project starts were up 6.8% from the twelve months ending May 2014
  • Planned space for building project starts rose by 50.8% from the same period in 2014. The value associated with these projects was up an equivalent amount over the period
  • 3,090 residential building projects began construction, a 0.6% decrease from the twelve months ending in May 2014. These starts contained 35,100 units, an increase of 46.2% from last year

Transit, Travel and Tourism

Transit Ridership

  • Total ridership on MTA subways, trains, and buses in April 2015 was 231.1 million, an increase of 0.4% from April 2014
  • Subway ridership in April 2015 was 150.3 million, up 1.6% from April 2014

Source: Metropolitan Transit Authority

Air Traffic

  • In March 2015, 9.9 million passengers flew into and out of the region's airports, an increase of 3.7% from March 2014
  • Domestic air carriers accounted for 6.6 million passengers, a 3.9% increase from March 2014
  • 3.3 million passengers traveled with international air carriers in March 2015, a 3.3% increase from March 2014 

Source: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Broadway Ticket Sales

  •  Total Broadway attendance was approximately 1,359,900 during the five weeks ending May 31, 2015, down 5.8% from the same period last year
  • Broadway revenues during this period were about $137.1 million, down 6.7% from last year

Note: Gross revenue and attendance figures include all shows playing on Broadway during the specified period.
Source: The Broadway League

 Hotel Occupancy

  • In April 2015, the average daily hotel room rate was $285, a 5.4% decrease from April 2014
  • Hotel occupancy was 91.2% in April 2015, down from 92.4% in April 2014
  • The average daily hotel room rate decreased the most in hotels charging $245 or less per night

Source: PFK Consulting