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March 24, 2008

DiNapoli: Westchester Economy Outperformed Rest of NY

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today released a report on the Westchester County economy showing that job growth exceeded the statewide rate due largely to gains in the financial services sector. DiNapoli’s report cautioned that continuing Wall Street job cuts, stemming from the collapse of the subprime mortgage market, could have a significant impact on the Westchester economy.

“Westchester’s rapid rise as a financial and business center is reflected in its high rate of job growth, low unemployment and high wages,” DiNapoli said. “The county’s economy continues to outperform the majority of the state, but the rapid rise in home values that began in 2000 is showing signs of slowing. A further tightening of credit could impact home sales in Westchester and also impact some of the downtown revitalization initiatives.”

According to the report, wages grew by 20.1 percent between 2003 and 2006. During the first half of 2007, jobs grew by 6 percent in construction, 5.5 percent in leisure and hospitality and 3.3 percent in the education and health services industry. Unemployment averaged 3.6 percent in 2007, a full percentage point below the statewide rate of 4.6 percent.

The median single family home sales price in 2006 was $630,000, the second highest in the state. Subprime mortgages increased as a percentage of approved mortgages from 7.5 percent in 2004 to 19 percent in 2006.

Other highlights of the Westchester County Economic Snapshot include:

  • Westchester’s population grew by 2.5 percent between 2000 and 2006, well above the statewide rate. White Plains’ population increased by 7 percent during the same time period.
  • Nearly 90 percent of all Westchester businesses employ 20 or fewer people.
  • Job growth in the financial services sector increased by 14.4 percent or 3,900 jobs from 2003 to 2006.
  • The average salary in 2006 was $58,630, exceeding the statewide average by $3,150.
  • The Tappan Zee Bridge, having reached the end of its original estimated life-span, is in need of major repairs or replacement. Early this summer, the State is expected to announce its decision on the bridge and will address whether it will include a mass transit option, such as light rail, commuter rail or bus lanes.

Click here for a copy of the report.



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