Comptroller Stringer Report: Local Residents Left Behind in Gentrifying Neighborhoods
Twenty-four percent job growth in gentrifying neighborhoods far outpaces the rest of the city, but too few jobs are going to long-time local residents
Stringer calls for renewed affordability and jobs strategy to combat employment disparities and residential displacement
Report includes first-ever analysis of economic and demographic trends across all 188 New York City neighborhoods
Amid explosive economic growth across New York City, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer today released an updated 2018 edition of his “Neighborhood Economic Profiles” report finding that local residents in gentrifying neighborhoods are largely being left out of recent economic expansion. The analysis found that in the 24 neighborhoods identified as gentrifying, just one-third of net new jobs in these areas were filled by people of color, who represent the vast majority of local residents. To bridge the gap, Comptroller Stringer is calling for renewed investment in workforce development – including strengthened engagement between the City, local businesses, and job seekers – as part of a holistic affordability strategy.
The new gentrification analysis accompanies updated economic snapshots of New York City’s 59 community districts, first published last year, as well as a first-ever analysis of economic and demographic trends across all 188 New York City neighborhoods.
“The economic growth in our neighborhoods is good news, but only if it means real opportunities for the working families, seniors, and immigrants who built these communities in the first place. This report clearly shows that local residents are getting left behind as already struggling New Yorkers are finding it harder than ever to afford living here,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. “We need to fully fund workforce development programs, build community partnerships, and prepare local residents with the necessary skills and training so that they can thrive in their growing neighborhood economies.”
In the 24 neighborhoods identified as “gentrifying” in the report, local employment jumped by an average of 24 percent, nearly triple the growth rates in “low-rent, non-gentrifying areas” and far outpacing those in “high rent neighborhoods.” The fastest growth was found in Claremont-Bathgate in the Bronx, Williamsburg and Crown Heights South in Brooklyn, and Central Harlem South in Manhattan, where the number of jobs rose by over 40 percent since 2010.
High levels of job growth, especially for young employees and those in higher wage jobs, exemplify why gentrifying neighborhoods should be spaces of economic opportunity for local residents. However, the analysis found that new jobs often failed to reach local residents of color who make up the vast majority of both residents and job seekers. Additionally, these wide disparities in job outcomes suggest that gentrification may have a stronger effect on the labor market than the residential market.
To address these disparities and help combat residential displacement, Comptroller Stringer’s report provided several recommendations for connecting long-time residents to local jobs and investing in workforce development. Those recommendations include:
The City should honor the goals set in its Career Pathways plan, which are currently far off-track. While the City promised to invest $60 million per year in “bridge programs” pairing academic instruction with workforce development services by 2020, as of FY 2017, only $7.5 million was budgeted.
For example, the New York Basic Education and Skills Training (NYBEST) program at LaGuardia Community College has placed hundreds of New Yorkers in healthcare jobs. Non-profit providers like The Door and Per Scholas — whose TechBridge partnership offers IT certification, English-language training, and other supports — have also produced impressive results. These programs should be emulated and expanded throughout the city.
The City should empower the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, allowing it to set policy and funding priorities for the more than one dozen agencies that engage in skills-building and job placement. As a first measure, an Executive Director should be appointed, filling a position that has sat vacant for more than six months.
The City should develop stronger ties between local community boards and nonprofits to ensure that any business or new development that comes before the Boards is referred to job placement and training organizations.
The City should also encourage stronger partnerships between local workforce development organizations so that they can provide better end-to-end support services and work together on job placements.
In last year’s “The New Geography of Jobs” report, Comptroller Stringer highlighted the work of the Lower East Side Employment Network—a partnership of seven lower Manhattan workforce development providers and Community Board 3—and encouraged similar partnerships across the city. Since that time, similar collaborations have taken root in the South Bronx and Flushing, Queens.
The City can help preserve longstanding neighborhood businesses by developing a “re-entrepreneur” program and online portal, similar to efforts in Barcelona and Quebec. These programs connect retiring small-business owners with aspiring entrepreneurs and provide guidance for transferring and reinvigorating local businesses. Introducing a Re-Entrepreneur program – as well as more effective entrepreneurship programs – can help preserve neighborhood anchors and maintain some continuity along New York’s fast changing business corridors.
To read the full report, including economic snapshots on New York City’s 188 neighborhoods and 59 community districts, click here.