Minimum wage and New York have been some buzzwords going around for a while now. At the beginning of last year, there was an increase of 50 percent in New York’s tipped minimum wage with that for fast-food workers increasing by 17 percent.
In 2017 minimum wage increased by 22 percent. by the end of next year, any company that has 11 staff members or more will have to pay them at least $15 per hour. For other workers it will increase to $10.40. This is a marked 67% increase on the previous minimum wage for these companies.
Over the next few years the minimum wage in NYC will rise even more, until it reaches $15 in 2019. However, according to data from the New York Labor Department, there has been – for the first time since 2009 – a decline in employment growth indicating that job growth remains prosperous following a minimum wage increase.
When it comes to revenue, which privately-held company is doing best in New York? Based on 2016 revenue data, Crain’s has determined their list, with the top three as:
- Bloomberg LP
- Horizon Media
However, Partnership for New York City analysis found that business in New York is lacking in metropolitan characteristics. It found that most of New York’s foreign companies actually come from Europe and thus it is the responsibility of the government to make it more attractive for businesses from Asia, the Middle East and South America to come to America. As Partnership President Kathryn Wylde said: “We should really pay attention to countries with a growing market demand for goods and services from New York, and one important way to do that is to have more of their companies have operations here.”
For employees in New York who often have to make an accounting of either going to work while having a sick child at home or losing money, thanks to Brooklyn’s UncommonGoods this problem may soon be eliminated. Bringing home a new baby, caring for someone, helping a loved one or doing anything that requires one to not be at work but is surely not classified as a vacation, this small business is there to help.
With around 200 employees, the online unique product retailer is offering employees up to eight weeks of paid time per year for such situations. According to company CEO David Bolotsky, as well as being good for the employees, this makes economic sense. He explained:
“It’s important because families are important, and being able to care for loved ones is essential. Providing our workers with the ability to balance their personal needs with their work requirements, we think, is in our business interest as well.”
And thankfully, very soon, this policy will extend to other companies in New York. This is because on January 1, 2018, all businesses will be subject to a program that is being seen as one of the nation’s “most progressive family leave policies.”
In a gradual way, by 2021, families will be given up to 12 weeks paid time off for new children (meaning biological, adopted and fosters). This will extend to sick members of the family (including in laws and domestic partners) as well as those undergoing family pressures (such as military responsibilities).
In an attempt to facilitate the hiring of engineers and ensure their staunch technical skills, Triplebyte was established in 2015. Initially in San Francisco, the company that has built an enhanced hiring process, enabling engineers to showcase their capacities, Triplebyte is now ready to move on to its second market, in New York. At the same time, it will be moving into an additional industry to technology – that of finance.
After two years of focus in the Bay area, last month, Triplebyte announced the launch of its services in New York. Initially concentrating on “late stage startups” including Dropbox, Palantir and Peleton, the company is interested in engineers currently working in New York or willing to relocate and has even committed to cover interview and related costs.
The way Triplebyte works is by putting all technical recruits through an automated screening test, followed by a two-hour technical interview. It then identifies their strengths and weaknesses and using that data, seeks the most appropriate work environment for them.
Resumes are not required. The process just works with candidates face-to-face and uses that method to test their abilities. That way it is completely non-discriminatory and not based on paper. So if someone has not gone to college but has taught themselves, but are extremely proficient in what they do, they will likely be placed.
Next up for Triplebyte: the finance industry.
Alicia Green, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development in NYC, recently announced the establishment of the VR/AR hub for business creation, education, investment, research and training. The NYU Tandon School of Engineering has been chosen to develop and operate this – the first ever government funded hub at a 15,000 square foot space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Students will be able to prepare at these hubs for careers in both these sectors (Virtual and Augmented Reality). Meanwhile the NYCEDC (New York City Economic Development Corporation) together with (MOME) the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment has invested $6 million into the incubator.
It is hoped that this will result in: the support of new ventures (equipment, infrastructure and workspace) to startups; create a citywide VR/AR talent pipeline; ensure that the area has the highest quality VR/AR research center through expertise of those from NYU, Columbia, CUNY, to expand technological advance in these fields; develop the VR/AR Community and activate innovation in the field.
In an effort to increase the diversity among those working in the media industry (specifically in TV – writing or directing), a bill was passed in the New York State Senate and Assembly which established a $5 million incentive program to be allocated to salaries of those who are female or come from another minority group. This is in addition to New York state’s $420 million film and TV production tax credit.
The reasoning behind the bill was because it was found that those being hired in the industry were often passing over others just because they knew someone in the industry, leaving talented individuals without the job they deserve. As Eastern DGA Executive Director Neil Dudich pointed out, “For years the DGA has pushed the industry to change their imbalanced hiring practices so that talent, and talent alone, is the defining factor. By encouraging studios, networks and producers to discover the talented New York TV directors and writers that are out there in abundance, this bill can be a meaningful step forward in establishing a level playing field for all.”
The way this will work in practice (if it gets Governor Cuomo’s support and becomes law) is that 30% of the salaries of female and minority writers and directors would have the opportunity to earn a tax credit, with caps of $50,000 per episode and $150,000 for a show’s entire season.
In a move to benefit the interviewee, Mayor de Blasio is legalizing some changes in questions potential employers are permitted to ask. One of these is salary history. The Mayor just signed a Bill which, when passed in October will make it “unlawful” to request details of a job applicant’s current salary.
De Blasio is very focused on promoting anti-discriminatory practice in the work place. Just recently NYC’s Ethics Panel fired three city workers for inappropriate use of their jobs for personal gains. The perpetrators were fined for basing hiring and promotions on familial choice. One of these workers was an Administration for Children’s Services for use of her job title for the benefit of “an associated family member’s family court case.”
In addition, the head of NYC’s jail system, Joseph Ponte just resigned his position, following criticism for use of his city-owned SUV to repeatedly drive to vacations in Maine.
Some businesses are expanding into New York. Two of note are Toronto-investment bank Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. and skincare company Glossier.
With its upcoming expansion and move Canaccord will be able to offer its Latin American institutional clients access to global markets, providing equity and fixed-income sales and trading. According to new MD of the firm, Alejandro Rebelo, the reasoning behind this move is clear: “Latin America fund managers are treated like kings in their own nations, but aren’t big enough to get all the attention needed from large international banks.”
Further, this will provide Canaccord with more revenue within the firm’s US securities umbrella. And as Global Head of Sales and Trading Mark Whaling said, staff there will comprise “largely U.S. equities focused, but also will do business in options and fixed income, which represent about 20 percent of their revenue base.”
NYC will also now be home to Glossier, with the added benefit of 200 more jobs at the company’s new headquarters. Located at One SoHo Square, 161 6th Avenue, Glossier in 2017 was named one of the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2017 by Fast Company Magazine.
For years, campaigns have been undertaken to fight for Paid Family Leave (PFL) Benefits throughout the nation. New York finally has its own Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (article 9 of the Workers Compensation Law), that is to become effective January 1, 2018. As it is New Yorkers have been doing well over the years being one of very few states that force employers to give disability benefit coverage to workers for illness or injury (caused out of work time).
Now, New York’s PFL is making things even better. The result of Governor Cuomo’s New York State’s 2016-17 Budget, once in place, this will mean that anyone who has worked for at least 26 consecutive weeks (175 days for part-time workers) will be eligible for paid family leave benefits. In addition, these individuals will have the right to a leave of absence and guaranteed reinstatement. This would also be the case for those who do not come under the protection of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
For employers this law will enforce a review of family and medical leave policies, benefits, agreements, etc. in an attempt to ensure full compliance.
Thanks to Spotify an additional 1,000 jobs will soon be available to New Yorkers. With the upcoming move of company headquarters to Manhattan at 4 World Trade Center from its current location in Sweden, in early next year and the “World Trade Center Rent Reduction Program rent credits” being bestowed on the company from the Empire State Development (ESD), substantial growth for the firm is anticipated.
Snapchat and Etsy have also received such credits from ESD. All of this is an effort to keep talent in New York and such tax incentives have helped to create nearly 2,000 jobs while retaining more than 1,500 in the state of New York.
Indeed, looking at figures from the end of last year we see that Rochester had some impressive gains in the job market. Both the non-farm and private sector encountered a spike (4,400 and 4,200 respectively) in employment while the region’s overall unemployment rate remained static at 4.7 percent from 2015. And then the Solar foundation reported a record high level of employment with 260,077 workers in late 2016 (with a growth of at least 20 percent for four consecutive years).
Finally according to a recent article by PYMNTS, “the economy is showing continued growth in everything from consumer spending and job growth to manufacturing,” based on data from a report in The New York Times. Retail sales increased 0.4 percent in January (0.8 percent when auto sales are excluded), and the Consumer Price Index increased by 0.6 percent.
So there is room for optimism for New Yorkers when it comes to the economy. Post-election panic is perhaps not as necessary as it may have been anticipated.