New York Finance Job Loss Forecast

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A revised economic analysis by a New York City agency forecasts that the city's financial services job losses will total 33,300 from late 2007 through mid-2009 - including 17,300 jobs in the more narrowly defined "securities" industry.

Those numbers are dwarfed by the amount of job cuts already announced by Wall Street and big European banks, which exceed 60,000. They're also well below the 41,300 New York City jobs erased by the recession early this decade. But the job-loss projections in Tuesday's report from the city's Independent Budget Office are larger than those the same agency released in an initial report just two months ago.

As is often the case with economic data, numbers from different sources produce apples-to-oranges comparisons more often than not. For instance, banks' announcements of planned layoffs often provide just one figure that applies to all the company's operations in the U.S. or worldwide.

The Independent Budget Office is forecasting that "a local recession is imminent, if it has not begun already." It looks for the local economy to enter recovery in the second half of 2009.

During the 2001-2003 recession, New York City employment in "securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities" declined lost 20.6 percent from the peak, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. A similar degree of shrinkage from last August's peak industry employment of 191,800 would generate a loss of 39,500 jobs. But while the latter figure reflects the crude assumption that this downturn will have the identical shape as the previous one, the Independent Budget Office performed an original analysis of possible current scenarios to generate its forecasts. The agency expects this local recession to be less severe than the one earlier this decade.