Economic Research & Analysis

March 2016 Economic Snapshot

Inside this Volume

Private employment in New York City increased 4,200 between January and February 2016.
The unemployment rate increased to 5.4%, down from 6.3% this time last year.
The number of new building construction projects increased 20.4% from the twelve months ending February 2016. The value of these projects increased nearly 40% over the same period.
Subway ridership was 136.4 million in January 2016, a 1.9% increase over January 2015.
9.1 million passengers flew into and out of the region’s airports in January 2016, an increase of 6.5% from last year.



  • Private sector jobs in New York City rose by 4,200 in February 2016 following January 2016 gains of 35,400 jobs.
  • Government jobs in the city rose by 300, resulting in a net overall increase of 4,500 jobs between February and January 2016. Construction had the largest month-to-month growth, adding 3,800 jobs, followed by Health Care and Social Assistance, which added 2,500 jobs.
  • This was partially offset by a decline of 6,300 jobs in Education.
  • Since February 2015, private sector employment has risen by 104,300 jobs, and increase of 2.9%. This compares to the national growth rate of 2.2%.
  • New York City’s unemployment rate rose to 5.4%, from 5.3% last month.

Gender & Opportunity in New York City

  • For National Women’s History Month, this month's economic snapshot looks at the gender breakdown of economic activity in New York City. One important indicator is the gap between the wages of men and women, with the median wages of women in New York City at 89.9% those of men in 2014. While this wage gap is lower than the U.S. as a whole (79.5%), it has remained relatively constant over the last decade. This compares with a 3 percentage point reduction in the national wage gap over the same period.
  • The gender wage gap varies widely between different occupations and industries. Disparities are smaller in several occupations. Women’s wages exceed men’s in community and social services and are above 85% of men’s wages in military, installation, construction, and administrative services. Industries with higher shares of female workers tend to see higher wage disparities. Several industries with the fewest women relative to men, including manufacturing, construction, and extractive industries, have wage gaps smaller than 10 percentage points. Conversely, industries in which women far outnumber men, including management and healthcare, have wage gaps that are far larger than average.

Figure I. Occupational Wage Gap by Women’s Average Wages, 2014

Figure II. Industrial Wage Gap by Ratio of Female to Male Workers, 2014

  • Middle-income occupations, including administration, education, and arts and entertainment, tend to have smaller wage gaps than low- and high-income jobs. Women working in the legal system and healthcare practice are well-paid relative to average workers, yet take in less than 60% of men’s wages, on average. At the same time, women’s wages in low-paying jobs in sales, production, and farming, are, on average, below 70% of those of men.
  • The gender gap in entrepreneurship is generally more pronounced than the gender wage gap, with women comprising about 30% of all New York City entrepreneurs. This gap, however, also varies greatly across sectors. In healthcare support, social services, personal care, sciences, women entrepreneurs outnumber men by two to one. This is more than offset by disparities in occupations including construction and transportation, where male entrepreneurs outnumber women by more than ten to one.
  • While women and men have the same rates of college education as a whole, there are considerable differences by age cohort. Educational attainment is higher for both sexes in younger cohorts, but this trend is more pronounced for women. While men over the age of 45 are more likely than women to hold a bachelor’s or post graduate degree, women aged 26-35 outpace men by 8 percentage points. Similarly, the share of men aged 26-45 with a high school education or less is 11 percentage points higher than women in the same age group. Reflecting higher rates of college attendance, women under 30 who are not married, have no children, and work full-time earn, on average 95% of their male counterparts, while women over 30 earn 36% less than men.

Figure III. Women’s Educational Attainment by Age Group, 2014

Figure IV. Ratio of Female to Male Entrepreneurs by Occupation, 2014

Real Estate & Construction

Manhattan Office Market

  • In February 2016, the Manhattan Class A direct vacancy rate rose to 8.4% from 8.3% one month prior, while the average rental rate fell from $81 to $80 during this same time.
  • The Midtown South Class A sublease vacancy rate fell from 0.9% in January to 0.2% in February, while the direct vacancy rate held steady at 3.1%.
  • The Downtown Class A direct rental rate rose to $65 PSF in February 2016—up from $64 PSF one month prior.


For the twelve months ending February 2016:

  • Building projects (including new, additions, and alterations) that started construction in NYC rose by 20.4% while infrastructure (non-building) project starts were down 13.4% from the twelve months ending February 2015.
  • The total value of construction projects grew by 38.9%, reaching over $40 billion for the twelve months ending in February 2016 with a corresponding growth of 90.4% in square footage. Residen`tial buildings experienced the strongest growth in project values since February 2015 (59.1%).
  • Of the 7,714 building projects that began construction, 3,861 were residential projects, representing a 28.5% increase from the twelve months ending in February 2015. These starts contained 54,726 units, up 123.2% from the preceding twelve months.

Source: McGraw Hill Construction

Note: Based on latest available data

Transit, Travel, and Tourism

Transit Ridership

  • Total ridership on MTA subways, trains, and buses in January 2016 was 208.2 million, a 1% increase from January 2015.
  • Subway ridership in January 2016 was 136.4 million, up 1.9% from January 2015.

Source: Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Air Traffic

  • In January 2016, 9.1 million passengers flew into and out of the region’s airports, representing an increase of 6.5% from January 2015.
  • Domestic air carriers account for 64.8% of these flights, with 5.9 million passengers, a 7.1% increase from January 2015 and resulting in over 81 million total passengers in the 12 months ending January 2016.
  • The region’s airports transported a total of 156,364 tons of freight in January 2016, over 65% of which was from international flights.

Source: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Broadway Ticket Sales

  • Total Broadway attendance was 748,304 during the 3 weeks ending March 20, 2016 and 945,818 for the four weeks ending February 28, 2016. March attendance was up 11.1% from the same period of 2015, while February attendance was up over 18% from February of last year.
  • Broadway revenues in for the 3 weeks in March totaled $71 million, up 5.2% from the same period in 2015. February Broadway revenues were $90.7 million, which represented a 9.2% increase from February 2015.

Hotel Occupancy

  • In December 2015, the average daily hotel room rate was $322 a 5.5% decrease from December 2014.
  • Hotel occupancy was 89.0% in December 2015, down from 90.2% in December 2014.
  • The average daily hotel room rate decreased the most in hotels charging between $300 and $375 per night.

Note: Based on latest available data. Gross revenue and attendance figures may not include all shows

Source: The Broadway League