Brooklyn has achieved extraordinary economic growth, including the first increase in the manufacturing sector in several decades, but challenges remain, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli reported to an audience in Williamsburg today.
“Business in Brooklyn is booming and people want to live there because of the borough’s economic opportunities, its diversity and its outstanding schools, museums and nightlife,” DiNapoli said. “While Brooklyn faces challenges such as unemployment and the high cost of housing, the borough’s overall economy is flourishing and is poised to keep growing.”
Appearing at the Brooklyn Brewery, the Comptroller offered his findings from an economic snapshot of the borough. The results showed significant economic achievements that outshines much of the rest of the city. Since 2003, the report states, the number of businesses in Brooklyn has grown by 21 percent, a much faster rate of growth than the other boroughs. Job growth has also been strong (19.8 percent), nearly twice as fast as in the rest of New York City.
“Educated young people have been pouring into Brooklyn for the past two decades, and they responded to the 2008 recession by starting businesses in the food, beverage, media and tech sectors,” said Steve Hindy, who cofounded Brooklyn Brewery in 1988. “There now is a vibrant economy in Brooklyn and an educated workforce finding new opportunities.”
Brooklyn continues to face challenges, however, with parts of the borough still struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy. And while there has been a housing boom in Brooklyn in recent years, helping to transform some neighborhoods, there remains a shortage of affordable housing. Nearly 30 percent of all households in Brooklyn devoted more than half of their income to rent.
“The neighborhoods of East New York, Bushwick, and Brownsville have the highest amount of individuals living in poverty throughout the borough,” said New York City Council Member Rafael Espinal (D-Brooklyn). “We need to urge manufactures, start ups, and small business owners to look at those neighborhoods as a ripe and affordable place for investment.”
“The road map forward is clear,” said Borough President Eric Adams. “We must accelerate recovery from Superstorm Sandy and become a more resilient borough, leading the way in energy efficiency and environmental soundness. We must also close Brooklyn’s inequality gap.”