The Bronx economy continues to grow and improve, according to recently released numbers from the New York State Department of Labor.
The unemployment rate in The Bronx fell to 7.3 percent in August 2015, down from 7.7 percent in July 2015 and 9.5 percent in August 2014. In January 2010, the borough’s unemployment rate hit an all-time high of 14.1 percent.
Those same statistics show that the borough’s labor force participation rate grew by 7,000 since August 2014, with about 19,600 more Bronxites employed and roughly 12,600 residents of Bronx County coming off the unemployment rolls.
E.J. McMahon, director of the conservative Empire Center, called those numbers “eyepoppingly good.” He said that Bronx labor force participation is at an all-time high. Today, over 567,000 Bronx residents are in the labor force. McMahon also cited the borough’s August unemployment rate as the lowest in Bronx history.
Since Borough President Diaz took office in 2009, The Bronx has seen more than $7 billion in total development, which has led to the creation of over 15,000 new jobs. In addition, a new partnership announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in August between the New York State Department of Labor and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, as part of the “NY Works,” program is placing Bronx residents in these jobs, helping to ensure that new development here benefits everyone, especially Bronxites.
The Empire Center’s McMahon pointed out that since 2009, Bronx jobs have grown by 67,000 jobs or nearly 30 per cent, while overall NYC jobs grew 12% during the same time period. “Job creation in the Bronx grew at more than two times the city rate,” said McMahon. The data show that Bronx workers are employed in greater numbers.
“We are creating new jobs in The Bronx, and we are making sure that Bronxites are getting those jobs,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Together, in partnership with our elected officials, business community, non-profit sector and others, we have cut unemployment nearly in half since 2010, and we are continuing to attract new companies of all kinds to The Bronx. We have more work to do, but our efforts to improve the borough’s economy are certainly bearing fruit.”
Critics have pointed out that many new Bronx jobs are service sector jobs paying minimum wage but the state labor report does not specify the mix of jobs employing Bronx residents. When asked how the “Fight For $15” would affect continued job growth in the Bronx, McMahon demurred saying only that it was an interesting question that requires more thought. Some economists–liberals and conservatives–however, have expressed concern regarding how entry-level jobs would be affected by a 50% increase in the minimum wage. If New York enacts a $15 minimum wage it would be the highest in the world.
Earlier this month, Borough President Diaz co-hosted a job fair with the New York State Department of Labor and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation. The event featured representatives of 23 companies offering 1,000 jobs, and was attended by hundreds of individuals.
Also in September, Borough President Diaz cut the ribbon at the new home of tech firm Doran Jones in Port Morris. The company’s new Urban Development Center will bring hundreds of high-tech jobs and millions in economic development to the South Bronx.
“We are building a diverse economy in The Bronx, and we are creating new jobs in a variety of fields. From our nascent tech sector, to our new retail hubs, to our burgeoning industrial and manufacturing concerns to the bedrock of our healthcare industry, we are creating jobs for all Bronxites,” said Borough President Diaz.
The Department of Labor’s complete release can be found at http://on.ny.gov/1Fwtb65.