Looking beyond an ‘economic renaissance’


Make text smaller Make text larger


Stringer’s new report highlights disparities in the city’s growth


Photos



  • A recent report by Comptroller Scott Stringer showed that while business throughout the city is booming, many low-income and minority business owners are being left out of the profits. Photo: Thomas Good, via Wikimedia Commons



A new study by Comptroller Scott Stringer starts with the good news: the city has “experienced an economic renaissance” over the last few years, with the number of businesses growing from roughly 203,000 to roughly 237,000 between 2000 and 2015. Low-income communities saw a 41 percent jump in business establishments during the same time period, compared to just a 12 percent boost in higher income areas. But most of the findings for lower income New Yorkers aren’t that promising. The fastest-growing neighborhoods are largely classified as gentrifying, and they also have the highest rates of unemployment.

Stringer’s report offers some suggestions to the city to remedy this, including installing a network coordinator to “strengthen the pipeline between local businesses and residents” and helping entrepreneurs secure storefront space. Greg David, a columnist at Crain’s New York Business and director of CUNY’s business and economics reporting program, called these ideas “effective on the margins.” “There are a lot of small ideas that over time have not proved terribly effective,” he said. “I don’t recommend anything because I think city government’s only a marginal force in this.”

David found the report to be overwhelmingly positive, despite indications that the city’s economic gains were not being felt citywide. “As the city gentrifies, businesses are doing well outside the Manhattan core,” he said. “And as communities are getting better they’re luring businesses and retail. So that’s the big picture and that’s the good picture.”

Though the midtown and downtown central business districts saw an eight percent loss of businesses between 2000 and 2015, President of the East Midtown Partnership Rob Byrnes also looked on the bright side. “I think that’s sort of a logical outgrowth of the shifting demographics of the city at any time,” he said. “And that’s a good thing. Midtown and lower Manhattan always be the commercial hubs of the city, but we shouldn’t be the only hubs.”

However, the report makes clear that minority-owned businesses are struggling to reap their share of the benefits. “Though minorities own 34 percent of all city businesses with employees, these establishments account for only 21 percent of business employment and 16 percent of revenue,” the study reads. “Blacks, in particular, are significantly underrepresented. While accounting for 22 percent of the city’s population, they own only three perfect of local businesses.” Between 2007 and 2012, black-owned businesses decreased from 2,294 to 558.

In a statement accompanying the release of his report, Stringer said what is needed is an economy “built on fairness.” “The increasing rents and economic distress that accompany gentrification are challenges that we as a city must confront,” he said. “As the jobs landscape changes, we need to do everything possible to support those who helped build their communities in the first place.”

Madeleine Thompson can be reached at newsreporter@strausnews.com



Make text smaller Make text larger

Comments



MUST READ NEWS

Image Dishing it out at the Vendys
Godshelter and Bisola Oluwalogbon, who serve West African fare, took top honors in the food truck competition
Image The big bike-lane boom
Spurred by several recent tragedies and demands from advocates and elected officials, City Hall may expand bicycle infrastructure to include more east-west streets, not just...
Image Yorkville after the subway
Even after the opening of the Second Avenue line, Yorkville’s aura of affordability remains — but for how long?
Image DACA: a personal perspective

A longtime community leader on his involvement with an East Harlem group devoted to helping Latino immigrants

By Stephan Russo

In February I...

Image Powers wins East Side council primary
Keith Powers emerged as the winner in Tuesday’s Democratic primary election for the District 4 city council seat, finishing atop a crowded field of candidates to replace...

VIDEOS



Sign up to get our newsletter emailed to you every week!

  • Enter your email address in the box below.
  • Select the newsletters you would like to subscribe to.
  • Click the 'SUBSCRIBE' button.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Neighborhood Newsletters


MOST READ

Crime Watch
Crime Watch
  • Sep 21, 2017
City Arts News
Taking Off the Mask
  • Sep 21, 2017
Local News
Powers looks ahead after primary win
  • Sep 20, 2017
Local News
An instrumental part
  • Sep 21, 2017
Local News
Makeover for a West Side building
  • Sep 20, 2017
Local News
Dishing it out at the Vendys
  • Sep 20, 2017
Local News
The big bike-lane boom
  • Sep 20, 2017
Local News
An instrumental part
  • Sep 21, 2017
Local News
You go, girl
  • Sep 20, 2017
Local News
The big bike-lane boom
  • Sep 20, 2017

MOST COMMENTED