Unemployment has hit 10% in New York City — signaling the need for government and employers to focus urgently on something that’s eluded them in the recovery to date: working-class job creation.
This much is clear: Today, despite gains in the recovery, thousands of New Yorkers who are looking for jobs aren’t finding them.
The gap is all the more troubling because, contrary to what you might expect, the city is creating jobs at a fairly rapid clip. In fact, it’s outpacing the rest of the country in rebounding from the cataclysmic shock to the economy.
The Great Recession bottomed out in the five boroughs in September 2009, with an unemployment rate of 10%.
From that point forward, the private sector began adding new jobs — and the jobless rate slowly abated for more than a year.
Over the course of the recovery, the private sector grew by 200,000 positions.
From January to June this year alone, jobs spiked by nearly 70,000.
But even as that has happened, the unemployment rate has steadily risen, going to 10% in June from 9.3% in January.
Imagine a farm that’s producing crops at a higher and higher rate — and a surrounding town where more and more people are going hungry — and you get the picture.
Jobs are going to people who commute to the city from the suburbs, who move here from around the country or who are highly educated New Yorkers.
Too many middle- and low-income residents of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island are on the outside looking in.
A city cannot thrive without working-class men and women able to earn a decent living. Over the long term, the answer is a huge push to improve education — with a focus on the jobs of the future, which will be built on skills like science, technology and engineering.
Move further, faster — lest the city become a playground for the wealthy, a destination for tourists and a place where too many New Yorkers tread water at best.
And sometimes drown.