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Industry generating $60.8b every year, says NYBC report.

New York City's building industry generates $60.8 billion in annual gross revenues and accounts for 275,000 private sector jobs, according to Bedrock of the Economy: The New York City Building Industry, an industry profile released this week by the New York Building Congress.

The profile, which is based on a range of statistical data, portrays an industry that supports New York City's middle class, minority and immigrant populations, and substantially stimulates the City's economy.

Construction work alone, the largest sector of the industry, accounted for $27.4 billion of economic activity in New York City in 2005; followed by real estate leasing and property management which accounted for $25.89 billion of activity.

Each dollar of production by construction, real estate and design or building services created an additional $.50 on average in other City industries that purchase from or supply the various sectors. As a result, the $60.8 billion industry actually stimulated nearly $90 billion of economic output in 2005, the latest year for which data are available.

According to the report, three in every four building industry workers both live and work in New York City, including 72 percent of all construction workers. Queens and Brooklyn house most of the City's construction workers, while Manhattan accounts for the largest number of real estate workers. Building services workers are heavily concentrated in Staten Island, followed by Queens.

The report also found that 47 percent of all building industry workers were born abroad. Of those, 69 percent who arrived in the United States in the 1970s are now citizens as are 44 percent who arrived in the 1980s.

In a surprising finding, the average age of today's construction worker is 40. Ten years ago, the average age for a construction worker was 51. Overall, most industry employees range in age from 30 to 50, with the highest proportion of workers between the ages of 35 and 39.

On an annual basis, New York City building industry payrolls amount to nearly $14 billion. Heavy and civil construction reports the highest annual wage at $68,900, followed by architectural and engineering services ($68,000), real estate workers ($47,600) and building service workers ($32,800). Of the 275,000 jobs at approximately 31,500 firms, construction accounts for 123,200, followed by real estate (90,300), architecture and engineering (31,600) and building services (31,500). Another 160,000 indirect jobs are created in such industries as law, accounting, catering and transportation as a result of building industry work.

"Like no other sector of the economy, the benefits of a productive building industry continue to be felt long after the work is complete, often generations later," said Building Congress chairman Dominick M. Servedio, who also serves as Chairman and CEO of STV Group, Inc.

"From infrastructure to development projects, the industry produces a short-term economic boost while also creating stronger communities and greater capacity for long-term growth."

Added Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson, "The building industry helped counter the region's most recent downturn by creating jobs, tax revenues and stimulating further development. A strong industry was there to greet the recovery and helped expand it further.

Today, the industry remains vital and is one of the keys to the City's economic future

According to Edward J. Malloy, President of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, "Two of the greatest and least understood aspects of the building industry are its diversity and its uniquely positive impact on New York's working class communities.

"Our predominantly New York City-based workers earn decent wages which they then spend in their neighborhoods, thus bringing stability to families and communities throughout the five boroughs."

The New York Building Congress and the New York Building Foundation prepared Bedrock of the Economy with the assistance of Urbanomics, an economic consulting firm.

The full report can be viewed at code/bedrock.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jan 31, 2007
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