September 22, 2011
DiNapoli: Small Business Growth Spearheads Vibrant Flushing Economy
Flushing, Queens is a diverse and historic neighborhood defined by its immigrant population and strong job growth according to an economic snapshot (available in Chinese and Korean) released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
"Flushing is busy, booming, and bringing people to its streets at a rate that few can rival," DiNapoli said. "This neighborhood boasts one of the highest business growth rates in the city and has added jobs every year since 2005 despite the Great Recession. It is the people of Flushing who are making it happen. This is a diverse neighborhood, rich in history, which attracts immigrants from countries far and wide. The entrepreneurial spirit of Flushing, seen in the thousands of small businesses that have buoyed this neighborhood's economy, defines what today's New York City is all about."
Boosted by immigration, the population in Flushing grew by 2 percent between 2000 and 2010, to reach 171,530 residents, faster than the rest of Queens. The neighborhood is a thriving economic community for Asian culture, with residents of Chinese descent composing nearly 40 percent of the population and those of Korean descent, the next largest group, composing 13 percent. Of the 55 U.S. Census neighborhoods in New York City, the greater Flushing area had the third-highest share of foreign-born residents in 2009 at 53.5 percent.
A January 2010 report issued by the State Comptroller found that neighborhoods with large immigrant populations had stronger economic growth than the City as a whole. Flushing illustrates this trend well: Between 2000 and 2009, the number of business establishments in the greater Flushing area grew by 37.6 percent, far surpassing the growth rate for the rest of New York City (5.7 percent).
Small businesses predominate in Flushing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 76.4 percent of the 5,570 businesses in Flushing employed fewer than five workers in 2009, significantly greater than the share in the rest of New York State and the nation. More than half of all businesses were concentrated in four sectors: retail trade, other services (e.g. personal services and auto repair), health care and social assistance, and construction.
Businesses, wages, and employment are all on the rise in Flushing. During the 2008-2010 period, wages in Flushing rose by 16.9 percent, outperforming the rest of Queens which experienced a 1.3 percent decline. Employment has grown every year since 2005, and continued to rise even during the Great Recession, outpacing job growth in the rest of Queens and New York City. In 2010, Flushing added jobs at a rate of 3.1 percent, while the rest of the City only saw 0.7 percent growth.
The tremendous growth in the neighborhood has placed increased demand on infrastructure and community services. Public school enrollment, for example, grew by 11.3 percent between academic years 2004-2005 and 2010-2011, compared with a 3.2 percent decline in the rest of the City.
New economic development projects will add to the hustle and bustle of the City's third busiest intersection (Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue) and tenth-busiest subway station (Main Street Flushing). The area has a vibrant downtown area, with many shops and more than 60 bank branches. Projects underway in the area include Flushing Commons, an $850 million mixed-use development; a new $125 million mixed-use project on Prince Street and 39th Avenue; and Eastern Mirage, a 100,000-square-foot complex with a boutique condo hotel, condo apartments and a medical office building.
"I want to thank Comptroller DiNapoli and his staff for their hard work in preparing this economic report on Flushing. As highlighted in the report, Flushing has become a dynamic neighborhood with robust economic growth despite the recession. In 2010 alone, Flushing added jobs at a rate of 3.1 percent, far outpacing the rest of Queens and the City as a whole. The number of businesses in Flushing also grew by 37.6 percent between 2000 and 2009, compared to 5.7 percent in the rest of the City. Flushing's economic success means that this neighborhood deserves more attention and investment in its mass transportation, education, and its small businesses," said Assembly Member Grace Meng.
"I want to thank Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and his staff for conducting the research, compiling the data and releasing this exciting report, An Economic Snapshot of Flushing, Queens. As we all know, Flushing is one of the most ethnically diverse communities in New York City. Therefore, we are all extremely proud that despite our cultural differences we continue to work together to make Flushing a neighborhood that is vibrant, dynamic and economically strong," said New York City Council Member Peter Koo.
"Here in Queens, America's most diverse county, we are grateful to State Comptroller DiNapoli for this latest snapshot of Flushing, one of our most vibrant and thriving communities that continues to grow, not only in population, but also jobs and businesses. The Comptroller's focus on Queens, through publications like this, meetings here at Borough Hall and elsewhere in the county, is indicative of his hands-on approach to government at the local level and is greatly appreciated," said Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall.
"Since the 1980s, immigration has made Flushing Queens' economic powerhouse, a bustling hub of cultures, transportation, small businesses and housing opportunities. In the last 10 years, Flushing's progress outstrips the rest of Queens and the city in job creation, total wages and school enrollment -- it grew more than seven times faster. I am proud to represent this area, which is proof positive that the American Dream is alive and well in Flushing," said Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.
"Flushing is one of New York City's strongest concentrations of economic activity outside Manhattan. In 2002, the City led the Downtown Flushing Framework, a land use planning strategy for the future growth and sustainability of Downtown Flushing, the Flushing River waterfront and the Willets Point peninsula. Our work continues in Flushing and we remain committed to its future," said Executive Vice President of Development for the New York City Economic Development Corporation Thomas McKnight.
For a copy of the report visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/osdc/rpt10-2012.pdf