New York’s Economy, Through Another Lens

June 27, 2000. A letter to the editor of the New York Times, by James Parrott:

Re ”Jobs Data for 1999 Paint a Rosier Picture for Upstate New York” (news article, March 2):

It may be a little premature for Gov. George E. Pataki to herald the turnaround of the upstate economy. At least 40 percent of the private job gain last year occurred in industries like retail and social services, where the average wages are 40 percent below the average for all workers in New York State (leaving aside Wall Street jobs where the pay is off the charts).

With many of these new jobs paying about $25,000 a year, the state has a long way to go before it can make up for the 400,000 middle-income jobs that it has lost over the last decade.

It is also puzzling that Mr. Pataki links job growth to his tax cuts, since more than one in five of all jobs added last year occurred in sectors (health and social services and education) heavily affected by government spending.