Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a plan to add 100,000 new jobs to the city’s economy over the next 10 years, particularly positions that pay over $50,000 a year, with the intention of shoring up an increasingly hard-to-maintain middle class lifestyle, the Wall Street Journal reports. The city would contribute more than $1.35 billion toward job creation in already promising job sectors, what the mayor referred to as “good-paying jobs,” that pay or lead to being paid at least $50,000 a year. The mayor said at a news conference Thursday, “the job here is to lift the floor for everyone in this city, to make sure that a middle-class lifestyle really is available to everybody.”
James Patchett, president and chief executive of the New York City Economic Development Corp. said “This is a pathway for the 100,000,” rather than an exact plan for achieving that number, as detailed in a 111-page book, “New York Works,” that accompanied the rollout of the new plan.
Sectors identified for job creation include tech, life-sciences, industrial and manufacturing and the creative and cultural sectors. Officials said many of the jobs in the tech sector would be in the growing field of cybersecurity, helping to protect companies from hacking threats.
The plan outlines a “Nightlife Ambassador,” a senior-level official who would help businesses with licensing, permits and navigating the city’s notorious bureaucracy. Officials noted that the idea was borrowed from cities like London and Amsterdam.
De Blasio, a Democrat, is up for re-election this year. It has been noted that the jobs outlined in the new plan represent a shift from his earlier focus on income inequality; representatives from various organizations voiced concerns in response to the Mayor’s announcement.
President and chief executive of the Partnership for New York City, Kathryn Wylde, said the city already had 150,000 job vacancies that can’t be filled because of a lack of workers with the right skill set. “The bigger need is amongst lower-income and unemployed New Yorkers,” according to Jesse Laymon, director of policy and advocacy at the New York City Employment and Training Coalition.
Though about 25 percent of the new jobs would be accessible to workers without a college degree. the mayor said finding jobs for unskilled workers was a separate issue “I would not say this is the perfect plan for someone who never graduated high school.”
The city’s unemployment rate stands at a low 4.3 percent at last count according to state data, but the mayor isn’t taking any chances, saying the jobs would benefit the city, “regardless of what happens in the economy.” The New York times noted that under the de Blasio administration the number of full-time city employees has grown to nearly 294,000, more than at any point in history. This record growth accompanies record city revenues, with nearly every city agency now employing more workers than it did in 2014 when the mayor took office.
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