DUH! By Patrick McGeehan
Updated, 3:55 p.m. | Well-paid professionals like lawyers and architects are joining the rapidly expanding unemployment rolls in New York City, according to a new unemployment study.
The report, released by the Fiscal Policy Institute, shows that the effects of the financial crisis have spread well beyond Wall Street to other white-collar jobs, as well as construction, retail and service jobs.
The number of white-collar workers outside the financial industry receiving unemployment checks has increased by more than 40 percent and the number of college graduates collecting benefits is up by 50 percent in the city since last year, the report shows.
In other dire news for the New York economy, the city comptroller forecast on Thursday that Wall Street’s cash bonuses will drop at least 50 percent to their lowest level since 2002, which could have grave consequences for city tax receipts. The comptroller’s chief economist recently explained in an interview how the city’s fortunes have changed so dramatically.
A report today put the national unemployment rate at its highest level in 26 years.
Although the nation has been losing jobs since the start of this year, New York City’s job market remained strong into the summer, according to the report, which is based on data compiled by the federal and state Labor Departments. As recently as July, the number of new claims for unemployment benefits in the city was only about 10 percent higher than it had been a year earlier.
But unemployment claims have been rising rapidly, portending an “upsurge” in the city’s unemployment rate in coming months, said James Parrott, the institute’s chief economist and author of the report.
According to the state’s figures, the city has lost about 10,000 jobs since employment peaked in August. A report on the condition of the job market in the city and state in November is due to be released next week.
Most forecasts of the effects of the financial crisis project that the city will lose more than 150,000 jobs during this recession. The report estimates that job losses will average about 10,000 a month from November 2008 through the end of 2009.
The layoffs are following a traditional recessionary pattern by radiating out from the big financial companies to other professional services and to lower-paying businesses like retailing, according to the report, which is based on a breakdown of the latest data available from the state labor department.
The number of unemployment beneficiaries who worked in professional, technical and scientific services was 6,428 in October, up 42 percent from October 2007. That total — which includes the fields of law, accounting, consulting and engineering — exceeded the 5,935 beneficiaries who worked in finance and insurance, the report shows. The number of blue-collar beneficiaries was up 50 percent, driven by a jump in laid-off construction workers.Mr. Parrott said that the figures understate how severe the unemployment situation is because many laid-off workers have not yet started collecting checks and many others do not qualify for benefits. In October, fewer than one-third of the 225,000 unemployed residents of New York City were collecting benefits, he said.