WorkSite: City’s Economy Grows, but Labor Force Shrinks

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NYC Comptroller

New York City’s economy grew significantly faster than the national economy in the third quarter of 2015, a report released Friday by the city comptroller found, and the city’s unemployment rate continued to drop.

The five boroughs saw growth of 2.4 percent, compared to 1.5 percent nationwide, according to Scott Stringer’s office. The city’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since 2008: 5.4 percent. The rate dropped for each borough, though disparities remained: The unemployment rate in Manhattan dropped from 5.9 percent to 4.5 percent, while in the Bronx it went from a very high 9.4 percent to a still troubling 7.2 percent.

Not all the news was good. The city added only 7,000 civilian jobs in the July-September quarter, the lowest number since the final part of 2010. And the labor force participation rate, which measures how many working-age people are working or looking for a job, “fell by a record 33,300 to about 4.2 million in [the third quarter],” the report found. “This was an unprecedented quarterly decline.”

The report notes that a decline in the labor force participation rate could indicate a surge in discouraged workers, or a demographic change. For example, if a large group of New Yorkers aged into retirement, that would lower the number of people 16 or older who are in the labor force.

Read the full report here.

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