The hammering of New York’s working and middle classes is reaching emergency proportions.
While the state and city economies are modestly creating jobs, paychecks are stagnating or worse — with all too many New Yorkers facing a diminished standard of living for themselves and their children.
A Wall Street Journal analysis found that average incomes declined over the past decade in wide swaths of the United States — including in the heart of working New York City.
In Brooklyn, the average annual paycheck, when adjusted for inflation, stood at $43,724 in 2004. By 2013, it had shriveled to just $39,959 — a devastating 8.6% drop.
In Queens, the inflation-adjusted average lost 5.7% over those 10 years, falling from $49,050 to $46,238. In Staten Island, the average shrank 5.1%, from $44,189 to $41,917.
Huge forces are at work. Among them are the loss of manufacturing jobs due to globalization and automation, health-care costs that take an ever-bigger bite out of employers’ budgets and the concentration of job growth in low-paying sectors like retail and home health care.
The only solution: robust economic growth.
What’s called for is an aggressive push to roll back the high taxes and onerous regulations that make New York one of the least business-friendly states in the country.
To invest in roads, mass transit and other infrastructure that would create jobs while catalyzing future growth.
To demand far better performance from schools — so they send out graduates prepared for college and careers, especially in science, technology, engineering and math.
And more — much, much more.