New York City’s Recovery Finally Starts Generating Wage Gains

In addition to our analysis and public education work around the New York State and City budgets and tax policies, the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) regularly tracks economic and labor market trends in the City and the State and provides commentary and prepares issue briefs, reports, and policy proposals. Our interest in economic policy is rooted in a concern for broadly shared prosperity.

Previous FPI economic reports have documented the historically weak nature of the national recovery since the Great Recession of 2008-09. One of the unique aspects of this recovery has been the prolonged period of high unemployment and a concomitant wage and income stagnation experienced by most workers and their families. Various reports in recent years, by FPI and others, have documented the tendency during the recovery, and in recent decades, for the bulk of income gains to flow to those at the high end of the income distribution. With unemployment finally falling and as a result of two state minimum wage increases, it appears that wage growth has started to pick up in New York City over the past year. In addition, collective bargaining agreements providing for retroactive wage increases have been reached with 300,000 New York City and Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers since April 2014. This report examines wage trends over the course of the recovery and considers the outlook for further wage growth over the next few years, and discusses the role of policy actions in creating a more durable local economy.