NEW YORK - The U.S. recession that began in December 2007 cost the top metropolitan areas all of the 2.29 million jobs they had gained in the previous expansion, according to a report released on Wednesday.
All of the job growth that occurred in the top U.S. metropolitan areas from August 2000 through August 2007 was erased by the subsequent recession, New York City Comptroller William Thompson said in a quarterly economic report.
The net loss is 7,000 jobs.
The two mature cities with the biggest job losses were Chicago, whose employers cut 257,700 workers, and Detroit, which lost over 467,400 jobs, the report said.
Boston lost 103,500 jobs, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul, with a loss of 35,500 positions; St Louis, which shed 28,400 jobs, and Philadelphia, where 21,400 positions were lost.
But there were two upbeat notes in this sour trend.
In spite of the financial crisis on Wall Street and thousands of high-paying jobs lost after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September 2008 and other banks merged, New York City emerged as part of a positive trend over the entire nine-year period covered by the city comptroller's report.
The New York-New Jersey area was one of only two mature metropolitan areas that succeeded in increasing jobs from August 2000 to August 2009. The New York-New Jersey area added 95,700 positions over that nine-year period, according to the report from Thompson, a Democrat.
Baltimore was the other bright spot, chalking up a gain of 26,500 jobs in that nine-year period,
But in the last expansion, New York City underperformed Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia in increasing the number of high-paying professional and business services jobs that tend to face less of a threat from foreign rivals than manufacturing, for example.
FEELING WALL STREET'S PAIN
Although New York City fared better than some of its peers, the city comptroller's report revealed the widespread devastation caused by Wall Street's implosion due to the credit crunch and the stock market's slide after the housing market's bubble burst. A total of 40,000 financial jobs have been lost since August 2007. And the city's jobless rate jumped to 10.3 percent in September from 6 percent a year-ago.
New York City's fortunes rise and fall with Wall Street because banks and brokerages spur hiring in service sectors, from florists to law firms, during profitable years.
General sales-tax collections fell 12 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, while income taxes withheld from paychecks dropped 7.2 percent. Manhattan's office vacancy rate shot up to 11.1 percent in the third quarter -- the highest level since the 2004 third quarter, the report said, citing Cushman & Wakefield data.
How swiftly the city exits the downturn rests partly with Congress. The federal government's newfound zeal for reining in Wall Street's risk-taking and compensation could crimp the financial industry's ability to kickstart the city's economy.
With many lucrative Wall Street practices discredited and more stringent regulation of the financial sector likely, it is difficult to envision a local economic recovery led by buoyant employment growth in financial services, the report said.
CLOUDY DAY IN THE SUNBELT
Though the Sunbelt, which is made up of the southern states, has undergone a surge in population in recent years as people opted for warmer climes and lower home prices, many of the jobs that were created were in just two fields -- construction and retail.
During downturns, both of those sectors were more likely to slice workers than education, health services and hospitality and leisure, the report said.
Only three Sunbelt metropolitan areas lost jobs over the past nine years: the Los Angeles-Long Beach area, whose employers cut 167,500 jobs; Atlanta, which shed 20,800 positions, and the Tampa-St Petersburg area, which lost 2,000 positions.
Houston led the list of job-growth cities, adding 258,300 workers in that nine-year period, followed by Riverside-San Bernardino, with 152,200 positions, and Dallas-Fort Worth, with a gain of 147,200 workers.
(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Jan Paschal)