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November 6, 2008



DiNapoli Report: Small Business Drives Washington Heights
and Inwood Economies

Report Shows Steady Increases in Jobs,
Payroll in Upper Manhattan Neighborhoods

In addition to being home to New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center, the local economy in the upper Manhattan neighborhoods of Washington Heights and Inwood continues to be fueled by growth in small businesses according to a report released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The report shows that between 2000 and 2006, the number of area business grew by 10 percent, with three quarters of them employing fewer than five people. Despite this growth, small businesses are under pressure from higher rents and energy costs and will be adversely affected by the current economic slowdown.

“Small businesses are the backbone of local economies like Washington Heights and Inwood,” DiNapoli said. “These two ethnically diverse neighborhoods have seen steady small business growth in recent years, leading to increases in jobs and payrolls. This growth is well-diversified, giving these neighborhoods a solid base for continued growth and expansion.”

The DiNapoli report shows that from 2000 to 2006 jobs increased by 5.7 percent while payrolls increased at an average annual rate of 6.3 percent. Among the employers in the area, most are in retail trade accounting for 27 percent of all businesses. Of the 19 businesses with 100 or more employees, eight of them are associated with the health and social services sector.

DiNapoli’s report also shows:

  • From 2000 to 2006, the number of businesses grew to 2,719 - a 10 percent rate of growth which was spread across all types of businesses;
  • Subprime mortgages have not been a major problem in Washington Heights and Inwood. More than 90 percent of neighborhood residents are renters and the percent of subprime mortgages in 2007 (2.7 percent) was well below the citywide average of 12.9 percent;
  • Between 1995 and 2007, crime in the two neighborhoods declined by 61.7 percent, slightly exceeding the rates of decline both citywide and in Manhattan as a whole; and
  • The $152 million in renovations to the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal will increase bus capacity and are expected to add 800 new jobs through upgrades to the terminal’s retail space.

Click here for a copy of the report.

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