New York City has seen strong job growth in recent years with new initiatives, and the fashion industry, long a part of its fabric, is playing an important role.
The New York City Economic Development Corp. on Thursday released an economic analysis that found employment has grown in every borough since 2013.
As part of his 2017 State of the City address last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio made a commitment to building on this success by adding 100,000 jobs within the next decade, including adding 40,000 jobs in the next four years. That includes efforts to create 1,500 jobs at a Made in New York Campus for garment manufacturing and film and TV production in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, also launched last week, and 600 tech jobs at a new innovation hub to be built at Union Square.
The Made in New York campus is a $136 million investment toward supporting more than 1,500 permanent jobs in the fields of fashion, film and TV, and the build-out of modern garment production space, sound stages and other campus improvements is expected to create more than 800 construction jobs.
Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for housing and economic development, noted that this is the most recent investment the city is making in Sunset Park, where millions of dollars has been dedicated to grow thousands of industrial jobs.
Glen pointed out that local hiring and workforce training will ensure Sunset Park residents have access to the campus’ new jobs. The Fashion Institute of Technology will launch two courses for makers at nearby Brooklyn Army Terminal.
Brooklyn saw the highest growth in private sector jobs with an increase of 12.8 percent — more than double the national average, according to the NYCEDC report.
Overall, from December 2013 to June 2016, the number of private sector jobs in the city increased 6.5 percent, compared to a national growth rate of 5.7 percent over the same period. Jobs grew 8.5 percent in Queens, 5.7 percent in the Bronx, 4.7 percent in Staten Island and 4.6 percent in Manhattan.
Glen noted that Sunset Park has many pockets of such manufacturing, places such as Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator and Manufacture New York, as well as jewelry and accessories firms.
While garment production comprises 30 percent of the city’s manufacturing jobs, the industry has faced decades of global economic pressures that have forced companies to look overseas for production, Glen noted. The Made in New York garment manufacturing hub will provide small spaces, ranging from 2,000 to 20,000 square feet, rented at affordable rates to companies working in pattern making, marking and grading, cutting and sewing, and sample making.
The fashion industry represents 182,000 jobs in the city, a 7 percent increase since 2000, Glen said.
“We’re not just working to grow good jobs, we’re also focused on expanding that growth to neighborhoods in all five boroughs,” said NYCEDC president James Patchett. “And we’re already seeing significant growth in middle-income sectors like technology and education. Now we’re going to build on that success, with targeted investments that will help create 100,000 quality jobs in the next decade.”
In the same period, annual average unemployment also decreased significantly in every borough. The Bronx saw the biggest drop, with a 4.4 percent decrease. Unemployment fell 3.8 percent in Brooklyn, 3.5 percent in Staten Island, 3.1 percent in Queens and 2.9 percent in Manhattan.
The NYCEDC report noted that the de Blasio administration has been focused on investing in sectors with high growth potential and jobs that help more New Yorkers access the middle class. In December, Mayor de Blasio unveiled LifeSci NYC, a $500 million initiative to spur an estimated 16,000 new, good-paying jobs and establish the city as a leader in life sciences research and innovation.
NYCEDC also announced the first award of the city’s Industrial Developer Fund, which will help create a 90,000-square-foot industrial space in Ozone Park, Queens. The NYCEDC said apparel and textile manufacturers are seen as potential tenants for the site.