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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015


DiNapoli Releases Sunset Park Economic Snapshot

Record Job and Strong Business Growth in Brooklyn Neighborhood, Even as Challenges Remain

September 14, 2016

The population, the number of jobs and businesses, and the wages being paid in Sunset Park, Brooklyn are all growing at a rapid pace, according to a report released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“Greater Sunset Park is undergoing an economic revival,” DiNapoli said. “People want to live and raise families here, manufacturers and other businesses want to open and hire here. As we’ve seen in neighborhoods across the city, growth brings new challenges. Sunset Park is a dynamic and diverse neighborhood that continues to rise.” 

“For decades, Sunset Park has been home to working families raising their children and entrepreneurs building business from the ground up,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer, whose organization hosted the report’s release at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. “The neighborhood has provided first homes and first jobs to many of our newest New Yorkers searching for opportunities and the chance to succeed. Today, Sunset Park is also an anchor for our city’s revitalized industrial and manufacturing sectors, creating thousands of strong jobs and pathways to the middle-class. NYCEDC is proud to invest in the residents of Sunset Park, and I thank Comptroller DiNapoli for highlighting this community’s enduring strength and incredible growth.”

“Comptroller DiNapoli’s report highlights what residents of Sunset Park have long known — that the community and quality of life of the neighborhood are ideal for economic development investment,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “Data included in this report will be integral to ensuring that past economic growth in Sunset Park benefits all residents, that future growth leverages existing economic assets in the community such as the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Liberty View Industrial Plaza, and that investment in additional community infrastructure is imperative to continue this positive trend. I applaud Comptroller DiNapoli for furnishing policymakers and residents alike with the data necessary to sustainably grow Sunset Park’s economy.”

“Sunset Park’s stellar economic expansion and community growth are well documented in Comptroller DiNapoli’s insightful new Economic Snapshot,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “We’ve outpaced the rest of Brooklyn and the City overall in many important economic categories like job and wage growth, new businesses and manufacturing.  This report also contains a call to action. The challenges of displacement, school crowding and access to public services are critical topics in a community that is now 40% immigrant, 25% under 19 years old, and facing an emergency housing shortage. We must redouble our efforts to connect local residents to the benefits of economic growth. The good news in the Sunset Park Economic Snapshot can be sustained while matching the priorities defined by Sunset Park residents themselves. I thank Comptroller DiNapoli and his team for highlighting Sunset Park’s achievements and potential.” 

“Comptroller DiNapoli’s report confirms what many of us have known for a while, that private sector jobs in Sunset Park are growing,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler. “Over the last decade and half there has been an increase of businesses by more than 50 percent in the neighborhood, and that is directly due to the revitalization of manufacturing and industrial facilities like Industry City, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) and Liberty View Industrial Plaza that host a diverse range of businesses.  And as the City focuses on fully opening and expanding SBMT in the coming year, I expect a lot more jobs to be created in the future.  This report illustrates that the manufacturing sector is a vital industry and important job and economic engine for Brooklyn, New York City and our entire region and we in government must do everything we can to protect and grow this vital industry both here in Sunset Park and in New York City.”

“Sunset Park’s diversity and the commitment of its workers are some of its greatest strengths and these characteristics are fueling an economic revitalization,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez. “In a burgeoning, multi-ethnic, immigrant neighborhood there are a range of challenges.  This report bolsters the point that this neighborhood’s unique industrial manufacturing waterfront must be preserved and grown and we must work together on policies to further advance that goal.”

“Comptroller DiNapoli reports welcome news about the economic health and vitality of Sunset Park,” said State Senator Jesse Hamilton. “While we celebrate the news of increased employment and higher salaries, we must also keep in mind the work ahead to accommodate the growth of Sunset Park. We need enough seats for students in schools and resources to upgrade the neighborhood's infrastructure. We must ensure that quality of life does not suffer due to population growth and economic success. And we must ensure that we don't leave neighbors behind, those who haven't yet been able to fully participate in recent success can't be allowed to fall by the wayside. We should all remain conscious of the challenge affordability poses to Sunset Park families — particularly affordable housing. The welcome news on jobs, salaries, and entrepreneurship should strengthen our resolve to build a more inclusive and even more successful Sunset Park for all.”

"I want to thank Comptroller DiNapoli for conducting this snap shot. We have known for some time that Sunset Park has vast potential to reclaim its history as a community to live and work,” said State Senator Diane J. Savino. “With smart investments by the city and state, we are starting to see a neighborhood revitalize itself. I look forward to working with the community partners to continue to make Sunset Park's next chapter.” 

"It’s no secret that Sunset Park is one of New York’s fastest growing communities,” Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz. “With so many new businesses opening along the waterfront, Brooklyn’s economy will continue to grow and expand as new job opportunities develop for our local, hardworking residents. As we continue to show the nation how a great urban waterfront can be revitalized, it’s also important that we share these accomplishments in the Sunset Park residential community, doing all we can to make sure that jobs, education and housing opportunities are provided.

Today’s report also highlights the need for adequate schools for the young people, who now make up a quarter of Sunset Park’s population. We also have to ensure that the needs of our growing Chinese American and Hispanic residents share in this growth.”

“Walk down the commercial districts of 5th Avenue or 8th Avenue Chinatown in Sunset Park and you can see that it’s a vibrant and emerging economic center,” said Assemblymember Peter Abbate. “As businesses continue to open up and provide good paying jobs to the local residents, this diverse immigrant community is growing and becoming a place where people set down roots and build their families. I am so proud to represent a part of this exciting community and to see it develop.”

“Sunset Park is without question one of the best neighborhoods in New York State, and it keeps getting better,” said Carlo A. Scissura, President and CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “With a record increase in good-paying jobs, more and more businesses opening each day, and innovative manufacturing hubs like Industry City, Liberty View Industrial Plaza and the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the potential truly is endless for this community. Sunset Park is a microcosm of Brooklyn — creative, intelligent, industrious, diverse and thriving — and the Chamber is dedicated to ensuring its recent success continues and hiring local residents remains a priority. Thanks to Comptroller DiNapoli for recognizing the growth of Sunset Park and issuing this report.”

“The residents of Community District 7 have long advocated for the preservation and rehabilitation of our manufacturing area as a vehicle for community empowerment,” said Jeremy Laufer, District Manager in Brooklyn’s CB7. “The growth of the local economy and jobs holds the promise of a better future and greater opportunities for our residents.  The challenge is to ensure that the jobs and benefits of a thriving economy reach all residents and sectors of the Sunset Park community.”

Since 1990, the population of Greater Sunset Park has increased by one-third to 152,700. The neighborhood has grown twice as fast as the city’s overall population increase. Immigrants accounted for nearly all of the growth and now make up almost half of the population.

Over the course of 2014 and 2015 private sector employment in Sunset Park soared by 9.9 percent, much faster than the citywide rate of 7.2 percent, and set a record of 39,920 jobs. More than 11 percent of the neighborhood’s jobs (4,500) — are in manufacturing, representing the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs of any neighborhood in the city. 

The number of businesses increased by 56 percent between 2000 and 2014, four times faster than the citywide rate. This growth has been helped by the presence of facilities like Industry City, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal and Liberty View Industrial Plaza that host a diverse range of businesses.

The average private sector salary in Sunset Park was $46,460 in 2015, higher than the overall borough average of $41,180. The average salary has grown 38 percent since 2004, nearly twice as fast as in Brooklyn overall. 

Like many growing areas of the city, increases in population and business bring challenges like affordable housing and adequate classroom and park space. 

The report also found that:

  • Total wages for all private sector jobs in the Greater Sunset Park area grew by 67 percent between 2004 and 2015 to $1.9 billion, a faster growth rate than in Brooklyn overall (64 percent);
  • Health care is the largest employment sector in Sunset Park, accounting for one quarter of the jobs;
  • Retail trade accounted for 41 percent of the jobs added since the end of the recession, and that restaurants, bars and hotels, although a small sector, accounted nearly one-fifth of the jobs added;
  • One-quarter of the population is under age 19;
  • Hispanic and Latino residents (both U.S.-born and immigrants) made up the largest segment of the area’s population (40 percent);
  • Almost 42 percent of Sunset Park’s immigrants were from China, 23 percent were from Central America and Mexico and 10 percent were from the Caribbean;
  • More than one-quarter (29 percent) of the area’s immigrants have been in the country for 10 years or less;
  • Asian residents have been the fastest growing segment of the population since 1990, increasing by 241 percent; 
  • Area residents aged 25 or older have made great strides in educational attainment. The share of these residents who have a bachelor’s degree or higher rose from 21 percent in 2005 to 29 percent in 2014, a larger improvement than occurred citywide; and
  • School enrollment rose by 55 percent during the past 15 years. Despite the addition of several new schools, school overcrowding remains a problem.

See An Economic Snapshot of the Greater Sunset Park Area