New York Mayor Unveils Plans to Create 100,000 Jobs

By Mara Gay Features Dow Jones Newswires

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined a plan Thursday to create 100,000 jobs over the next 10 years, an investment officials said would raise incomes and diversify the economy of a growing city.

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The mayor's plan would use more than $1.35 billion in city money to boost job creation in already growing job sectors. It is mostly focused on what the mayor called "good-paying jobs," ones that either pay at least $50,000 a year or lead to positions at that salary.

"The job here is to lift the floor for everyone in this city," Mr. de Blasio said at Thursday's news conference in Chelsea. "To make sure that a middle-class lifestyle really is available to everybody."

The projects in the plan, rolled out in a glossy, 111-page book titled, "New York Works," don't appear to create the full 100,000 jobs. City officials didn't outline exactly how they planned to reach the figure, but said the plan was a blueprint.

"This is a pathway for the 100,000," said James Patchett, president and chief executive of the New York City Economic Development Corp., a city agency involved in the plan.

De Blasio administration officials said they would create 30,000 tech jobs, 15,000 life-sciences jobs, 20,000 industrial and manufacturing jobs and 10,000 in the creative and cultural sectors. They said another 25,000 jobs would be brought to the city by increasing available office space for businesses looking to expand or move to New York City with tax incentives and rezonings.

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Within the tech sector, city officials said many of the jobs would be created in cybersecurity, a growing field that helps protect corporations from hacking and similar threats.

In the industrial and manufacturing sector, de Blasio administration officials said thousands of jobs would come from a push to modernize the city's freight system. That includes making $39 million in infrastructure upgrades to the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal as part of a larger effort to move more goods into the city using waterways instead of highways. Trucks carry 91% of goods into and out of New York City, clogging roadways and adding to pollution.

The plan also includes a "Nightlife Ambassador," described as a "senior-level administration official" tasked with helping businesses obtain licensing and permits from the city's sprawling bureaucracy. City officials said they borrowed the idea from the cities of London and Amsterdam. They said they were still working out a salary for the position.

The city's unemployment rate, which was 4.3% in May, according to state data, is low. But the mayor said the jobs would help protect the city, "regardless of what happens in the economy."

"We have an opportunity to shape our own destiny," he said.

Kathryn Wylde, president and chief executive of the Partnership for New York City, a business group, said there are already about 150,000 job vacancies in the city at any given time that can't be filled because the city doesn't have workers with the right skill set.

"These efforts are important but the real key is the quality of our education system and the infrastructure that supports business development, like transportation," she said. Ms. Wylde, who has long served as a prominent liaison between City Hall and the business community, said she hadn't received an invitation to the news conference and hadn't seen the final plan.

The initiative comes as Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, is up for re-election this year. The jobs plan he unveiled Thursday appeared to be largely aimed at addressing the needs of middle-class New Yorkers, a subtle shift from his first campaign four years ago when addressing rising income inequality was the central theme.

"I'm not sure whether there's a lot to celebrate here. The bigger need is amongst lower-income and unemployed New Yorkers," said Jesse Laymon, director of policy and advocacy at the New York City Employment and Training Coalition. The umbrella organization represents groups that offer job training and other job-related services, often to low-income New Yorkers. "What the city ought to be focusing on is helping those new Yorkers get the training, the skills, the credentials they would need to get those jobs now," Mr. Laymon said.

City officials said about 25% of the jobs would be accessible to New Yorkers without a college degree. Mr. de Blasio said finding jobs for people with very little education or job skills was a separate issue. Officials said 250,000 New Yorkers would ultimately benefit from the plan.

"I would not say this is the perfect plan for someone who never graduated high school," Mr. de Blasio said.

Write to Mara Gay at mara.gay@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 15, 2017 19:09 ET (23:09 GMT)