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  March 21, 2006

A Successful Strategy for Economic Growth

By Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

How strong is New York City’s economy? Just listen to these numbers. In January – the most recent month with complete jobs figures – we gained a record-setting 35,600 jobs. That means that more New Yorkers – nearly 3.6 million of us – are working than ever before. And the unemployment rate, which just three years ago stood at 8.6%, is now down to 5.6%, well below what it was before 9/11 and the deep recession that followed it.

All of this is clear evidence that our five-borough economic development strategy is working. From tourism to film production, from health care to financial services, New York City businesses are growing, and adding jobs all over town. But we’re not stopping there. We’re going to build on that momentum by making New York the most business-friendly city in the nation, and bring more jobs to communities that need them.

Last week, for example, we broke ground for a major new retail and office center in ‘the Hub’ – a shopping district in the South Bronx that is on course to recover its once-legendary bustle. By putting long-vacant City-owned lots back on the market, and by agreeing to locate a large new City agency office on the site, we’ve attracted a private developer to the Hub. The result will be a new clothing retailer, office supplies store, and pharmacy that together will provide 225 permanent new private sector jobs. Along with the City’s infrastructure and open space improvements at Hunts Point and around the planned new Yankee Stadium, our investments in the Hub are bringing a new day to the South Bronx.

We’re also working hard to foster more manufacturing in our city. Most manufacturers are relatively small operations – but when you total them up, they provide more than 100,000 jobs. To support these often small and struggling companies, we’ve created 16 Industrial Business Zones throughout the city. Manufacturing and distribution firms that move to these districts are eligible for business tax credits, job-training grants, and other custom-crafted assistance from our Administration.

Another ground-breaking I was at last week shows that these policies are starting to pay off. It involved Brass Masters, a small company that designs and distributes brass fixtures and furnishings that are currently manufactured in India. Attracted by our business tax credits and the ability to build on City-owned vacant land, Brass Masters is putting up a new manufacturing plant in the East New York Industrial Business Zone. In the process, it’s also dramatically expanding its operations; the company will grow from four to nearly 50 workers when the new plant opens for business later this year.

What’s more, some of the skilled metal work that the firm now has done in India will go on at its new home in East New York. So at a time when many people are worried about jobs being out-sourced overseas, our Industrial Business Zones are actually helping to ‘in-source’ new manufacturing jobs to Brooklyn. And success stories like that will keep our economy growing in the years ahead.