Silicon Alley Helps NYC Dig Out of Recession Hole

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New York City’s employment has mostly recovered from its Great Recession lows, and “Silicon Alley” might deserve a major portion of the credit.

The Wall Street Journal crunched the numbers from the New York State Department of Labor and found that jobs in everything from computer-systems design to technical consulting had increased by double-digit percentages since the Recession officially ended in 2009. Some of the city’s biggest tech employers, such as Google, have radically increased their staffs in the past few years. Overall unemployment in the city has retreated back to levels last seen in 2008.

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“What we have now is not as bad as the expansion period before the crash, when we didn’t get anything but low-wage jobs,” James Parrott, deputy director and chief economist of the Fiscal Policy Institute, told the Journal. “At least now we have some high-wage jobs and we are starting to get some middle-wage jobs.”

A recent report by HR&A Advisors, meanwhile, suggested that New York City hosts roughly 300,000 employees either working at tech firms or in tech-related roles at non-tech firms. (Despite that growth, there’s also a considerable amount of employment churn: JPMorgan, for example, recently cut hundreds of technology-support staff in cutbacks.)

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According to the most recent Dice Salary Survey, the average IT professional in New York City can expect to earn $93,915, a bit above the national average of $87,811. Data analysts, app builders, AWS and Oracle consultants, and pros skilled in Hadoop can potentially enjoy salaries much greater than the local baseline, thanks to high demand for those skill sets.

New York City has spent years fostering “Silicon Alley,” with former mayor Michael Bloomberg regularly traveling to California to boast of the city’s benefits to recent graduates and tech firms. The new Digital.NYC hub lists more than 5,600 startups in addition to well-established firms such as Google and Facebook. But other cities around the country are competing hard for many of these companies, which could make it more difficult for New York City to maintain its prominent position in coming years.

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