New York employers adding jobs, but many paying substantially less: Survey

Education, health, social services to see greatest hiring boost
By Joan Gralla
||Last Updated: 01/19/2012

NEW YORK (Reuters) — New York employers likely will add nearly 39,000 workers this year and another 50,000 in 2013, but many of those jobs will pay substantially less than the thousands of highly paid Wall Street positions being cut, according to a recent study.

Education, health and social services will account for the most new jobs over the next two years, hiring 33,000 people, according to the study by New York's Independent Budget Office, a nonpartisan fiscal monitor.

The average annual salary in health services, which includes home health aides, medical assistants and nurses, is US$54,900, according to the study.

That compares with an average salary of US$360,000 for a securities or commodities broker, according to the study, which noted that the average salary in New York was US$77,997 in 2010.

The expansion of the ranks of lower paid workers comes at a time when the financial industry is laying off thousands of employees due to disappointing profits. The resulting drop in tax revenue could make it more difficult for Mayor Michael Bloomberg to balance the city's US$66 billion budget and close billion-dollar budget gaps forecast for future years.

The study also illustrates the difficulty of weaning New York's economy from its long reliance on Wall Street as its economic engine. Wall Street companies and their employees recently accounted for about seven per cent of the city's personal income tax and business tax revenue.

Bloomberg has been trying to diversify the economy by attracting other well-paying industries — such as the engineering jobs a new Cornell University campus is expected to help create.

"Obviously, if new jobs coming in are paying less than the ones you lost during the recession, it's going to have less of an impact on the local economy and generally less tax revenue," said Doug Turetsky, a spokesman for the Independent Budget Office.

The tourism-fueled leisure and hospitality industry is another fast-growing sector and is expected to add 19,600 jobs, including 15,000 in restaurants and bars. The average annual salary for food and bar staff is US$24,050, though tips can increase wages, the study said.

The professional and business services sector likely will add 19,200 jobs over the next two years. Some 11,000 of these positions will be in professional and technical services, where annual salaries average US$109,500, the study said.

Administrative and support services are expected to expand by 8,000 workers; those sectors have average salaries of US$50,400 per year.

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