Veteran Crain’s New York Business contributor David, who directs the business reporting program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, profiles the long-term trends that have stimulated the city’s economic recovery.
The author identifies financial services, tourism, film and TV production and higher education as the primary sectors that have helped turn the city around since its fiscal crisis in the 1970s. Contrary to expectations, David shows that the New York City's economy is not as dependent on the ups and downs of Wall Street as the rest of the country; as evidence he cites the 2008 economic collapse and the 1982 recession, along with New York’s own deep recession in the ’70s, when more than 600,000 jobs were lost. One tendency remains clear: Manufacturing jobs have disappeared. After World War II, the city could count around 1 million workers in manufacturing, while in 2009 there were fewer than 100,000. Examining the tourism industry, David notes that the city greets 50 million tourists per year, with 10 million coming from abroad, and puts them up in 96,000 hotel rooms (double the capacity of the mid ’80s). The author also assesses the role of all the mayors of the city, singling out for special praise the economic policies of Ed Koch and Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg has provided the impetus for many innovative approaches, including a competitive effort to design a world-class graduate-school–level incubator for modern engineering businesses. However, with more than 190,000 jobs and an average yearly salary of more than $400,000, Wall Street provides 20 percent of the state's finances and 13 percent of the city's receipts (without considering property and sales taxes).
Using data, interview and anecdote, David assembles a brief but interesting history of the country’s largest city—though he does not address whether Wall Street’s global financial position will be enough to keep the city moving forward.