Abstract: Paper No. 155

New York's Economic Performance Since 1980, and Prospects For the 1990s

William Duncombe

September 1992

This paper represents the latest chapter in the Metropolitan Studies Program's long history of concern with the New York State's economic and fiscal climate. Beyond the specific objective of analyzing the state's economic performance, the author uses this study as a vehicle to provide a great deal of data that may be useful to others concerned with the economies of the state and its subregions. This paper, which is an extension of earlier efforts by Professor Duncombe with Roy Bahl, now of Georgia State University, was published in Economic Growth & Fiscal Planning: New York in the 1990s (New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Urban Policy Research, Rutgers University, 1991).

While the analysis presented here contains comparisons of New York's aggregate economic performance with the nation and northeastern states, it differs from similar efforts in several respects. First, this paper presents a more detailed picture of the New York economy and seeks to identify the factors underlying change. Thus, it looks at changes in household composition, birth rates, and migration patterns to ferret out the source of population growth. In the case of employment, the author provides detailed evidence on structural change, identifies growing and declining industries in the 1980s, and examines how these industries have fared in the early 1990s. The sources of income growth are analyzed, as well as evidence presented on the impact of structural changes on income distribution and poverty.

The second major contribution of this paper is the extensive data it provides on substate areas in New York. New York is composed of many different economies, which are both unique and are closely linked together. The tables provided in the text and appendix constitute the beginning of what should be included in a comprehensive database on the New York economy. This data is presented here to facilitate the efforts of those interested in detailed analysis of the state's subareas. As stated by the author, "If New York State is going to help guide its economy into the twenty-first century, there is a need to better understand what are its comparative advantages and to build on these strengths."

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