Many will take Manhattan but last year was a good time to work in the Bronx and Staten Island too.

That’s because the Bronx, Staten Island and several other big city and suburban counties in New York registered strong wage gains. This comes from a federal report. It measured job gains and wage growth over a year.

“Average weekly wages in New York’s largest 18 counties increased from the second quarter of 2018 to the second quarter of 2019,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It said wages in New York were often growing at a faster pace than the rest of the nation.

The Bronx, the BLS report said, had the biggest increase in average weekly wages, 5.7 percent.

“The Bronx was also doing well in 2018 and continued to do so in 2019,” said Bruce Bergman, regional economist, United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). He listed health care, food services and retail services as thriving Bronx sectors.

The Bronx’s strong wage growth was followed by Oneida County at 4.8 percent and Westchester County at 4.7 percent. The biggest areas, or what BLS said are counties of 75,000 workers or more, followed the trend of strong wage growth, the report said.

“Eleven of the 18 large counties had employment gains from June 2018 to June 2019, led by Richmond County (Staten Island), 3.9 percent, followed by Rockland County, 2.2 percent,” according to the report.

A Bronx official said things are booming.

“Our economy is the most thriving that it has been in twenty years,” says Lisa Forin, president of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce.

She said the Bronx, and other outer boroughs, are doing well because Manhattan is often “saturated” by development. This, she added, is giving the outer boroughs a chance.

The Bronx, Forin adds, “has the land and many opportunities for development.” She says increased minimum wages are also helping.

Linda Baran, president and CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, also said job growth is strong on the island.

“On the West Shore at Matrix Global Logistics Park, Amazon and Ikea Warehouse Distribution Centers opened and have created an estimated 3,000 jobs. On the North Shore, in the Spring of 2019, Empire Outlets (NYC’s first designer outlet mall) opened. It helped create at least 1200 construction jobs,” she said.

Nevertheless, despite outer borough and suburban gains, Manhattan still has the highest number of jobs, BLS said.

In New York State, the report said, employment was highest in Manhattan (2,532,100) followed by Brooklyn (794,600), Queens (720,600), Suffolk (688,500), and Nassau (642,200). The Bronx now has some 325,000 jobs.

Altogether, New York’s large counties accounted for 85.9 percent of total state employment.

In the one discordant, BLS said several upstate New York counties are lagging the trend.

“Forty-two of New York’s 44 counties with employment below 75,000 had average weekly wages below the national average of $1,095.” Yates and Hamilton Counties reported the lowest average weekly wages at $690 and $691, respectively.

Some other highlights of the BLS study:

*A total of seven large New York counties had weekly wage growth above the national average of 3.8 percent.

*Five counties had employment growth above the national rate of 1.1. percent. These were Queens, Orange, Rockland, Onondaga and Staten Island.

*Staten Island’s 3.9 percent employment growth ranked second in the nation’s 355 largest counties.

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Gregory Bresiger
Gregory Bresiger

Gregory Bresiger is an independent financial journalist from Queens, New York. His articles have appeared in publications such as Financial Planner Magazine and The New York Post. The eBook version of his latest book "MoneySense" is available now for Free Download by clicking HERE

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