JobsFirstNYC is pleased to announce the release today of a new report by the Center for an Urban Future (CUF). This report, entitled "Now Hiring", was commissioned and fully funded by JobsFirstNYC. Please read the press release from CUF below.
The full report is also available for download on our website by clicking here.
From the Center for an Urban Future -
For Immediate Release:
May 31, 2012 – The Center for an Urban Future, a Manhattan-based think tank, today published a new report which identifies more than two dozen occupations in New York City that are expected to have ample job openings in the years ahead which pay decent salaries and which are accessible to young adults with limited levels of educational attainment. The study, titled “Now Hiring,” details 26,000 job openings a year for much of the next decade in 26 occupations—from paratransit driver and medical assistant to bill collector and bank teller—that older young adults in New York could realistically fill.
The report, which was funded by JobsFirstNYC, a nonprofit intermediary focused on reconnecting young adults to the economy, offers a glimmer of hope for young adults in New York at a time when the current job outlook for young New Yorkers who lack a college degree appears particularly bleak. The city’s overall unemployment rate is 9.5 percent, the teen unemployment rate is around 30 percent and the young adults with low levels of educational attainment and limited work experience are among those who are having the hardest time finding decent paying jobs. Overall fewer young people are in the labor force today than at any time since World War II.
“Too many young adults from low-income backgrounds in New York aren’t working or are stuck in dead-end, low wage jobs,” says Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future. “But there is some good news out there. Thanks to expected growth in a number of sectors that have low barriers to entry, there is a clear opportunity to get more of these young people on the path to decent paying jobs.”
The report specifically focused on occupations that pay decent wages and offer some chance for advancement. Indeed, 22 of the 26 occupations identified in the report, with an estimated combined total of nearly 15,000 openings annually, pay a median wage of at least $25,000. In contrast, an entry-level home health aide in New York City earns $17,360 on average. The other 11,000 entry-level openings are in four retail and hospitality sector occupations that we included because they provide crucial work experience and training to young people who have been, at best, sporadically employed.
The growing occupations identified in the report include:
- Paratransit Drivers - The rapid growth in the number of New Yorkers over the age of 65 had led to a dramatic increase in the number of paratransit vehicles that shuttle older adults and the disabled to doctor’s appointments, nursing homes and other destinations. Ridership on Access-a-Ride vehicles grew by 15 percent a year between 2005 and 2009. With the city’s elderly population expected to grow faster in the decades ahead (the number of New Yorkers aged 65 and over is expected to grow 35 percent by 2030), a Metropolitan Transportation Authority paratransit official told us they expect annual ridership growth of seven or eight percent going forward. We estimate that there will be as many as 600 job openings a year for paratransit drivers across the city.
- Medical Assistants, Certified Nurse Aides & Pharmacy Technicians - In healthcare, the aging of the population and the realignment of healthcare delivery away from acute care and toward outpatient care is boosting demand for medical assistants in clinics, certified nurse aides in non-hospital settings and pharmacy technicians in drug stores. The NY State Department of Labor projects that by 2018, the number of pharmacy technicians, at a median salary of $34,530, is expected to increase upwards of 30 percent while medical assistant jobs, with a median salary of $32,360, will grow by 21 percent.
- Bank tellers - While many New Yorkers are less than thrilled with new banks sprouting up across the city—the number of branches increased from 452 to 694 over the past decade—these new branches have created hundreds of teller positions that pay $12 to $15 an hour and do not require a college degree. The State Department of Labor projects continued employment growth in this.
- Bill Collectors - The personal financial crises many New Yorkers are experiencing in the difficult economy have also had an upside—positions for bill collectors are expected to grow 8.6 percent by 2018 and offer a median salary of over $40,000, with only short-term on-the-job training required.
- Office Clerks - Demand for an average of 4,620 office clerks a year is projected through 2018. Although a significant share is expected to come from employment growth, most of these openings will result from turnover among the 232,350 workers currently in office clerk positions. Office clerks earn median wages of $28,000 to $42,000 depending on their title. Only a high school diploma or High School Equivalency (such as a GED) is required to start.
- In property maintenance there is an average of 1,700 openings a year for janitors with a median salary of $30,870 and 700 openings a year for general maintenance and repair workers with a mean salary of $45,060
- The utilities workforce in NYC is getting older and a large number of utilities workers are nearing retirement, which will create opportunities for younger workers. In 2010, 20.1 percent of New York City utility sector workers were age 55 to 64, which is substantially higher than their share of the general working populace. One official from a local utility union told us he expects an “exodus” of older workers retiring from the utility industry in the coming years.
The report, written by Margaret Stix and Glenn von Nostitz, also finds that retail jobs are particularly important for young adults with limited educational attainment. We were not initially planning to include opportunities in the retail and hospitality sectors, based on the widely held belief that they offered dead-end jobs with low wages. However, directors of the city’s Workforce1 Career Centers and workforce development practitioners that we interviewed made us take a second look after they pointed out how these sectors offer a crucial foothold in the job market for youth with lower educational attainment and minimal work experience. Since 1990, the city’s retailers have added 38,700 jobs, a 15 percent increase, to more than 300,000 positions. NYSDOL projects that through 2018 there will be 6,200 openings a year in retail salesperson and cashier jobs in NYC. These jobs typically offer low starting salaries but offer many other benefits to youth trying to enter the workforce. In particular, the flexibility of retail work schedules makes it suitable for young people who want to combine work with school. Jobs in these occupations also help young people who have been, at best, sporadically employed build a stable work record.
The study concludes that while there is a unique opportunity for helping New York’s young adults gain a foothold in the workforce, taking advantage of this will require new strategies and policies from both city policymakers and the private and nonprofit workforce development providers who work with this population. The report recommends everything from helping more young adults in New York obtain a driver’s license, which surprisingly has provided a key barrier to many young people getting jobs, to creating sectoral workforce programs that are geared to young adults. Currently, most of the sector-based workforce development programs are currently focused on adults.
The Center for an Urban Future is an independent and non-partisan think tank based in Manhattan that publishes studies about how to grow and diversify New York City’s economy and how to expand economic opportunity. The Center has written extensively about workforce development issues and the youth employment crisis in New York.
Click here (PDF) for the full “Now Hiring” report.