Private sector employment dropped in February 2017 after an unexpected surge last month due to annual benchmarking. There were 3,300 jobs lost in Educational Services—a sector with regular month-to-month volatility— making up much of this private sector decline. Retail (-2,300) and Arts and Entertainment (-2,100) were responsible for the second and third highest job losses. Health Care and Social Assistance and Manufacturing led job growth in February, gaining 3,800 and 2,500 jobs, respectively.
The unemployment rate fell to 4.3% in February, down from 4.5% in January (the national unemployment rate is 4.7%). The labor force participation rate ticked up 0.3 percentage points to 60.2%. Wages were at the lowest level in over a decade in February (after adjusting for inflation), hitting an average of $1,145 per week. Monthly employment data are seasonally adjusted by OMB.
Monthly employment data are seasonally adjusted by OMB.
NYCEDC monitors New York City’s gross city product, venture capital financing, and the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s Index of Coincident Economic Indicators, each of which are reported on a quarterly basis. This month, we are reporting data from the New York Federal Reserve Bank.
New York City’s economy began the year with steady growth, according to an index published by the New York Fed. The Index of Coincident Economic Indicators (CEI) shows steady growth since 2016 (before which the City saw two years of decelerating growth). By comparison, indexes for both New York State and the US show economic expansion slowing through 2016.
The number and value of new construction projects both rose in January 2017. The total value of citywide construction starts was more than double that of January 2016, due to the start of a $3.4 billion construction project for a new terminal at LaGuardia Airport. Nonetheless, the number of projects started in January 2017 was 25.7% higher than the previous year, the majority of which are nonresidential projects in Manhattan. Residential building projects started at a similar rate to recent trends. Geographic patterns are shifting, however, with surging construction in Queens and Brooklyn making up for falling activity in Manhattan.
The Class A office market has remained relatively steady. Direct vacancy rates decreased slightly from 8.5% in January 2017 to 8.3%, while total vacancy year-to-year trends remain unchanged. Direct rental rates rose 0.7% to $82.25 per square foot over the previous month. Overall, February 2017 rental rates were 2.3% higher than in February 2016.
The change in office total rental rates in Midtown South was particularly pronounced—up 12.4% from last year, while rates Downtown decreased 3.9%. In the final quarter of 2016, direct rental rates remained much lower in Brooklyn at $58.00 per square foot, and $40.37 in Long Island City, Queens.
Transit ridership is up from January 2017 with growth led by commuter rails and automotive transit. Subway ridership also rose from the prior year after several months of year-end declines. Local tourism indicators improved, and traffic through regional airports continued to rise. Broadway attendance and revenue fell sharply from last year, largely due to fifteen fewer shows in January 2017 than in January 2016.