Brooklyn leads the city in job growth: Report

The Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg is one pillar in the borough's business community.
The Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg is one pillar in the borough’s business community. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

If there’s any part of the city that’s generating the big bucks, it’s Brooklyn.

A report released Tuesday by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found the borough’s private sector employment spiked 19.8% between 2003 and 2012, the highest level on record and nearly double the amount of growth compared to the rest of the city, which was 10.6%.

By the third quarter of 2013, there was close to a half million private sector jobs in Brooklyn, also a record.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Brooklyn’s economic growth will continue not only because businesses and residents continue to flock there, but because the city will work to make sure they flourish.

“It’s a remarkable transformation that’s changing neighborhoods and the economy. It’s our job to make sure this is a rising tide that raises all boats,” he said in a statement.

Brooklyn had close to 50,000 businesses in 2011, the most recent year the state comptroller’s office had for the data, and has seen 8,600 new businesses since 2003.

The report said the increase of young professionals with a bachelor’s degrees moving into the borough and the growth of several neighborhood business sectors as major factors for the job growth.

Numerous tech companies, like Etsy which recently announced it will be expanding into Brooklyn with 340 new jobs, helped transform the downtown Brooklyn area, DUMBO and the Navy Yard into the most sought neighborhoods for entrepreneurs, according to Aleksandra Scepanovic, managing director of the Brooklyn-based real estate company Ideal Properties Group.

“That Silicon Alley transformation really did make a huge impact on the economy over the years,” she said.

Brookyn’s largest job sector was in the health care and social assistance industries, which contributed 33.1% of Brooklyn’s employment with nearly 20,000 jobs since 2008. The growth is from an increase in clinics, doctors’ offices and other health businesses.

While manufacturing has been declining throughout the city, it actually has increased in Brooklyn, fueled by food and apparel businesses.

The borough’s food manufacturing industry had 5,410 jobs in 2012, while apparel manufacturing had 3,580 jobs in that year.

Jobs that are in the leisure and hospitality industry, such as restaurants and bars, grew the fastest between 2008 and 2012 with 10,000 additional jobs in Brooklyn, with new hot spots in Williamsburg and Bushwick popping up during that time period, the report noted.

“The fact is we are seeing mushrooms [sprout] from the ground, where you have these restaurants coming up and creating these cultural centers,” Scepanovic said.

The Brooklyn Brewery, which expanded its building in 2012, was one of those success stories, according to the comptroller.The company’s founder, Steve Hindy, agreed that he had a positive symbiotic relationship with the Williamsburg community.

“Educated, young people have been pouring into Brooklyn for the past two decades, and they responded to the 2008 recession by starting businesses,” he said in a statement.

DiNapoli did acknowledge that the borough faces tough barriers for more growth, such as an 8.8% unemployment rate and high costs of living i, but said there already plansto keep the momentum going.

Two weeks ago, the City Council approved the $1.5 billion redevelopment plan for the former Domino Sugar Factory site in Williamsburg that will create 2,000 permanent jobs and new office space.

Scepanovic predicted the new big businesses will be pop up in the other borough neighborhoods like Greenpoint, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge.

“I think it’s almost a given, because development is going in every different direction in these emerging neighborhoods,” she said.