Saturday, November 30, 2013

OK, Barclays Center hasn't done much for Brooklyn's unemployment rate; Markowitz wants Samsung; Scissura suggests focus on expanding current base

Remember how then-Gov. David Paterson declared in March 2010, "As the buildings rise on Atlantic Yards, the joblessness rate will fall here in Brooklyn."

Or how columnist Andrea Peyser wrote in July 2012, "The arena will pump 2,000 sorely needed jobs into the economy, putting a dent into Brooklyn’s unemployment."

Maybe not so much. Borough President Marty Markowitz issued a statement this week regarding the latest unemployment figures:
“According to the New York State Department of Labor, unemployment in Kings County last month stood at 9.6 percent, a figure higher than that of New York City, New York State and the nation as a whole. As good as Brooklyn is doing, creating jobs for many in our creative economy, this data shows how far we have to go to meet the employment needs of all our residents, from Cypress Hills to Coney Island.

“Anecdotal evidence tells us that our greatest opportunity for growth continues to be in central and eastern Brooklyn. That is why I am renewing my call for this city to put all of its energy into bringing high-tech manufacturing, assembly and warehousing to these communities. We must explore every avenue to economically incentivize major firms and corporations to move their operations to areas like Brownsville and East New York. You cannot put a price tag on the number of quality working-class jobs this initiative would create, as well as the reverberating benefits it would produce for our borough’s quality of life.

“It is time for companies like Apple, LG and Samsung to set their sights on Brooklyn and its incredible workforce!”
Samsung or local company?

Consider, by contrast, an interview in Crain's New York Business,Carlo Scissura gives Brooklyn a business focus: The head of the borough's chamber of commerce leads it into an era of change.

Scussura says there needs to be a focus on "the outer borough's outer borough." He adds:
These are the neighborhoods—East New York, Brownsville, Canarsie—that need dramatic effort. You need the city to make an investment, to say, "We've got 500 food manufacturers operating within our borders and we don't want them to leave, so here's 100 acres of land, and we're going to give them incentives and tax breaks, but they have to create X number of jobs, hire within these ZIP codes, [reach out] to these churches, go to these housing projects." It's gotta be planned or it's not gonna happen. That planning is something I really hope that the de Blasio administration—and even the governor, to some extent—intends to make a major focus.
They're close to JFK, and he suggests export-import companies should join them.

What about attracting a large corporation as an example? Mr. Markowitz has been publicly courting Samsung.
The idea of attracting a major multinational manufacturer of some kind is lovely, but there are businesses in Brooklyn now that need space and support to stay.
But won't that be more difficult to achieve?
No, it's a better and easier business model. These local companies want to stay. Brooklyn is part of their brand.

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