Tuesday, December 01, 2009

In Bloomberg statement on AY, inflated jobs figures come from FCR; by contrast, ESDC projections are more conservative

In his radio address last Friday (transcript, audio), Mayor Mike Bloomberg saluted new infrastructure projects, agreements with construction unions, and new efforts to broaden access to construction trades--and then connected that to Atlantic Yards.

He said:
And last week, New York State's highest court moved us closer to realizing a major piece of that future, in its 6-1 decision concerning Brooklyn's proposed Atlantic Yards development. The court's ruling was a long step forward for a project that will spur extensive investment in new offices, stores, and thousands of units of new housing. It will also produce a new Brooklyn home arena for the Nets professional basketball team. All told, Atlantic Yards is expected to create some 8,000 new permanent jobs in Brooklyn. More immediately, building it is also going to produce nearly 17,000 of the new union construction jobs that New Yorkers need.
(Emphases added)

Some factchecking

Well, not exactly. Those figures--17,000 "construction jobs" and 8000 permanent jobs--come directly from Forest City Ratner's press release rather than a governmental source.

By constrast, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), in its 2009 Modified General Project Plan, projects 12,568 new direct job-years and 21,976 total job-years (direct, indirect, and induced) for project construction and 4,538 new jobs in New York City (direct, indirect, and induced). There would be an annual average of 5,065 jobs in the state.

Keep in mind that the 17,000 jobs--overstated--would be in job-years, and that all figure presume a project buildout over a decade, which is highly doubtful. For example, a good portion of those new permanent jobs would be in an office tower, but there's no market for office space right now, as Bruce Ratner recently told Crain's.

During the 5/29/09 state Senate oversight hearing on Atlantic Yards, state Senator Marty Golden asked a series of questions, including, "The approximately 17,000 construction jobs--still estimated at 17,000 construction jobs?"

Maria Lago, then the CEO of the ESDC, responded, "I believe that the General Project Plan estimated that there would be approximately 12,000 construction jobs and 5000 direct and indirect permanent jobs."

Update 12/29/09

The 9/17/09 ESDC board memo, distributed on the day the project was reapproved, stated that construction would generate more jobs: 16,427 new direct job years and 25,133 total job years (direct, indirect and induced).

Those numbers were distorted in Forest City Ratner's press release--which used the same numbers as did Bloomberg--after the master closing. The developer stated:
Atlantic Yards will create close to 17,000 union construction jobs, as well as 8,000 permanent jobs once the project is complete.
While I initially thought the figure of 17,000 construction jobs was way off base, given the longstanding estimate of 12,568 job years, it's not as far off base. Still, it should be job years, not jobs. And 16,427 is not "close to 17,000;" rather, it's closer to 16,000.

Also, the claim of 8000 permanent jobs is bogus. The ESDC memo claims 3998 jobs in New York City and 4277 jobs in New York State, inclusive of New York City. Whoever wrote the press release apparently added those two figures together.

1 comment:

  1. You can bet that Mayor Bloomingdales is a lot more precise when it comes to his own company. And what will this "genius" businessman do when Gov. Patterson starts to cut funds for NYC - tell us to stop whining?
    Or ask Bruce to please please build another tower? Pathetic.