Tag Archives: bureau of labor statistics

The New York Labor Force: Is The Donald Chasing People to To NYC?

In mid-2016, looking at Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data for that year, I found that after years of rapid growth New York City’s labor force, people working and looking for work, had stopped growing when compared with a year earlier, and in some months had declined.   I wondered if the millennials, faced with low wages (or just freelance gigs), high rents, high taxes and declining services were finally leaving, or not coming to, New York.


Checking data for other metros, I found that labor force growth had slowed or reversed in other large coastal metro areas with high costs of living, such as Boston and San Francisco, while picking up in other metros that were more affordable.


A year later, American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau was released for 2016, and had similar findings.


Boston appears to have hit what some demographers call “peak millennial,” according to an analysis from Time magazine. That analysis looked at the number of millennials—the nation’s youngest cohort of adults—who have exited Boston proper in recent years. Roughly 7,000 exited in 2016, after the city reached a record high of 259,000 millennials calling Boston home in 2015.

Other larger East Coast cities such as New York and Washington are seeing a similar trend and the reason is clear: Housing costs. Millennials get to a certain ripe old age—say, 27—and decide they want space for themselves and a potential family more than they want convenient access to decent avocado toast. While things might change given the effects a federal tax overhaul could have on the Boston housing market, the trend of millennial exodus is expected to continue.

But has it? I downloaded the latest BLS data to find out.

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Proposed: A Federal Department of Science, Statistics, and Public Information

In the wake of 9/11, when about 3,000 civilians were killed on U.S. soil despite $billions spent on defense, a series of failures was revealed.   Various agencies had the information to identify and stop the attack, but failed to cooperate. Despite a huge military posted all over the world, there were only two military airplanes defending the entire East Coast of the United States, only one of which was armed. And the non-military agencies tasked with defending the U.S., such as the Coast Guard, U.S. Customs Agency, and Immigration and Naturalization Service, were distributed among a variety of federal departments, with little emphasis on any of them and no coordination between them. To remedy this 22 agencies were removed from other Departments and integrated into a new Department of Homeland Security.

Today, we face the equivalent of 9/11 in every part of the country every year. Life expectancy is falling, due to the cumulative disadvantage foisted on later born generations by those who came before, an opioid epidemic, and rising suicide. Life expectancy is set to fall for the third consecutive year for the first time in 100 years.


But this crisis has been building for two decades, its scope not understood until a couple of economists, with expertise not in vital statistics but rather in value added taxes, brought it to public attention.


The belated realization of what is happening is a failure for this country’s policy wonks and journalists every bit as large as 9/11 was for our intelligence agencies and military. And a similar response is required.

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Local Government Employment: Up in New York in 2015

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released rebenchmarked wage and salary employment data for 2015 last Friday, and I took a look to see how New York State’s public and private sectors are faring. The data show that after falling each year from 2009 to 2014, statewide local government employment increased by 4,000 (0.4%) from 2014 to 2015. But the increase was concentrated in New York City, where local government employment rose by 4,300 (0.9%) and private sector wage and salary employment (excluding the Health Care and Social Assistance sector, which is substantially government funded) increased by 95,100 (3.3%). In the rest of New York State local government employment fell by 300 in total, with an increase of 1,700 in Nassau and Suffolk more than offset by decreases elsewhere.   But private sector wage and salary employment (excluding the Health Care and Social Assistance) increased by just 21,900 (0.7%).

Despite this short-term trend, a longer-term trend of falling local government employment relative to private sector employment remains in place. That trend is due in part to more money being shifted to retired public employees, leaving less for those still on the job, and falling private sector wages relative to public sector compensation, which means that private sector workers can afford fewer public sector workers. It also may be the result of an attempt to bring down New York’s sky-high state and local tax burden relative to the income of state residents. Further discussion and some charts follow after the break.

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