With a recent study showing that New York City is among the country’s largest cities in which less than half the population is considered middle class, a report coming out this week says some better paying jobs are on the upswing.
The Center for an Urban Future is releasing a report this week titled “The Rise (and Fall) of Middle Wage Industries in NYC,” stating that although the number of middle-income jobs in the city have decreased over the last decades, industries with middle-income wages are “staging a bit of a comeback.”
Based on the analysis, middle-wage industries — which are classified as those with annual salaries between $40,000 and $80,000 — made up three out of eight industry sectors that experienced net gains of about 10,000 jobs between 2011 and 2015.
The areas, which are considered the “high-growth” middle-income sectors, include educational services, construction, health care, the arts and transportation.
The report found that a total of 23 middle-wage sectors added at least 1,000 jobs during the time period and several have potential of more growth in coming years.
However, even though there are signs of increases in these kinds of jobs, middle-income industries are still not keeping up with both low-wage and high-wage industries, according to the report.
In the same five-year time period and across the five boroughs, middle-wage industries added a total of 110,880 jobs while high-wage and low-wage industries added 112,919 and 169,613, respectively.
The analysis also found that out of the 75 industries which experienced the greatest job losses between 2011 and 2015, 34 were middle-wage, 22 were high-wage and 19 were in low-wage sectors.
“New York City’s economy is booming, but too few of the jobs being created are in middle wage industries. That’s a big problem in a city as expensive as New York,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director for the Center for an Urban Future. “We need to make sure that more of the future growth is in jobs that pay middle class salaries.”
According to a report by the Pew Research Center, middle-class adults make up only 48 percent of the adult population in the New York City, Newark, Jersey City and Pennsylvania area.
Early this month, City Comptroller Scott Stringer released his quarterly economic update in which he said that the city has seen a record setting 4 million New Yorkers employed, with an increase of 21,200 people during this year’s first quarter.
Although the city has seen an increase in employed residents, Stringer found that nearly half of those new jobs were in low-wage industries.
In its report, the Center for Urban Future found that the industries with the most job gains between 2011 and 2015 were restaurant and other eating establishments and home health care services which pay yearly averages of $25,462 and $25,754, respectively.
“There’s so much great news in the city’s economy. But one big problem is that a lot of New Yorkers who’ve lost their jobs in middle wage sectors have had to settle for new jobs in lower paying sectors,” Bowles said. “And this is happening at a time when it’s more expensive than ever to live in this city.”