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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

State Comptroller's latest report on the Brooklyn economy shows significant improvement (yet continued pressures)

At the March 2010 groundbreaking for the Barclays Center, Gov. David Paterson cited an 11.2% unemployment rate in Kings County and declared, "As the buildings rise on Atlantic Yards the joblessness rate will fall right here in Brooklyn."

From Comptroller's report
He was right--sort of--but correlation is not causation. The unemployment rate has dropped considerably, even as the buildings--an arena and four residential towers--have risen slowly.

And while the Barclays Center surely has a direct and indirect role in tourism and hospitality jobs, it's hard to see this project--or any project, frankly--as the main cause.

Yes, 64 new hotels have been built in Brooklyn. But most of the job growth in leisure and hospitality--which more than doubled between 2009 and 2017, adding 30,100 jobs--came from  restaurants and bars, presumably serving residents with more disposable income.

Rather, as a June 2018 report (also at bottom) from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli shows, Brooklyn is the beneficiary of several trends. Here's the report's summary:
  • The Brooklyn population has grown by 19 percent since 1980, reaching 2.6 million in 2017 (31 percent of the City’s total population).
  • Brooklyn had nearly 1 million immigrants in 2016 (36 percent of the population).
  • The number of businesses increased by 32 percent since the end of the recession in 2009, faster than in the four other boroughs and almost double the citywide rate.
  • Business sales increased by 48 percent since 2009 to reach a record of $13.6 billion in 2016.
  • Private sector employment reached a record of 613,400 jobs in 2017, an increase of 39 percent since 2009.
  • Employment in the tech industry in Brooklyn reached a record of 9,800 jobs in 2017. With an average salary of $92,900, tech is among the borough’s highest-paying industries.
  • The unemployment rate fell from 9.9 percent in 2010 to 4.6 percent in 2017, the lowest annual level since the data series was created in 1990.
  • Household income increased by 31 percent since 2010 to reach $55,200 by 2016, a much faster rate of growth than in any other borough.
  • Educational attainment grew faster than in any other borough since 2000, and only Manhattan had a higher share of college graduates.
  • Despite a drop in the number of households who live in poverty, one-fifth of all households had incomes below the federal poverty level.
  • The number of households that devoted at least half of their incomes to rent increased by 17 percent between 2007 and 2016.
  • Annual subway ridership has doubled since 1980 to more than 384 million.
Continued pressure

The pressures remain notable: high poverty rates (though declining), including neighborhoods with concentrated public housing and others with religious Jewish households that prioritize study, and more difficulty paying rent, even as household income and jobs continue to grow.

Some other interesting excerpts:
  • The tech sector has become one of the fastest-growing employment sectors in the borough, increasing by 57 percent since 2009.
  • Brooklyn is among the most racially and ethnically diverse counties in the nation. In 2016, Whites accounted for 36 percent of the borough’s residents, Blacks or African Americans accounted for 30 percent, Hispanics or Latinos accounted for 19 percent and Asians accounted for 12 percent. Since 1980, population growth has been driven by an increase in the Asian population, which grew from 41,000 to 314,000 in 2016 (the latest year for which demographic data are available).
  • Since 2000, the share of residents (aged 25 and over) with a bachelor’s degree or higher rose by nearly 15 percentage points to reach 36 percent by 2016 (similar to the citywide share). Educational attainment grew faster in Brooklyn than in any other borough since 2000, and only Manhattan had a higher share of college graduates.
  • Since 2009, Brooklyn added 172,600 private-sector jobs, far more than the 1,400 lost during the recession and nearly four times as many as in the second-strongest expansion (Health care and leisure and hospitality were responsible for nearly half of the job gains between 2009 and 2017
  • Median rent has soared in a number of neighborhoods undergoing gentrification, making it more difficult for long-term residents not residing in rent-regulated apartments or public housing to remain in their homes.
  • More than half (54 percent) of all households devoted 30 percent or more of their incomes to rent in 2016 (the level at which rent is considered a burden).17 Nearly one-third (31 percent) faced a severe rent burden, devoting at least half of their incomes to rent. The number of households that faced a severe rent burden increased by 17 percent between 2007 and 2016 (28,300 households).
Contrasts with 2014

Consider DiNapoli's May 2014 report, which covered a time of much higher unemployment:
  • Brooklyn is the largest of New York City’s five boroughs by population and the second-largest by area. With 2.6 million people, it is the second most densely populated county in the nation.
  • Immigrants accounted for 39 percent of the borough’s residents in 2012, the third-largest share of any large county in the nation.
  • Between 2003 and 2012, private sector employment grew by 19.8 percent, faster than any other borough and nearly twice the rate of growth in the rest of the City.
  • Total private sector wages grew by 42 percent between 2003 and 2012, faster than any borough outside of Manhattan.
  • Since 2003, the number of businesses has grown by 21 percent, a much faster rate of growth than the rest of the City.
  • The health care and social assistance sector is the largest employer in Brooklyn, accounting for one-third of all private sector jobs. The leisure and hospitality sector had the fastest rate of job growth between 2008 and 2012.
  • Manufacturing jobs are increasing in Brooklyn, reversing a decades-long trend. Brooklyn is also attracting a growing number of technology and creative firms with relatively high-paying jobs.
  • The unemployment rate in Brooklyn has declined from a peak of 10.9 percent during the recession to 8.9 percent during the first quarter of 2014, but the rate remains much higher in some of the borough’s neighborhoods.
  • Median household income in Brooklyn is lower than in the other boroughs, but it grew twice as fast in 2012 (5.8 percent) as the citywide median.
  • Nearly 30 percent of all households in Brooklyn devoted more than half of their income to rent.
  • Serious crime declined by 77.5 percent in Brooklyn between 1990 and 2013.
Other interesting excerpts:
  • While the poverty rate has risen in recent years because of the recession (as it has throughout the City), the poverty rate in 2012 (24.2 percent) was still much lower than its peak in 1993 (31.6 percent).
  • The lack of affordable housing in the borough remains a serious problem, which has worsened over the past decade as rents have risen faster than incomes. Between 2000 and 2012, the median monthly rent rose by 71 percent in Brooklyn to $1,060, while the median income grew by 41 percent.


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