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Comptroller: NY rebounding unevenly around state

ALBANY — State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Thursday that New York has recovered less than half the jobs lost during the recession and a weakening Wall Street and global economy make for a gloomy outlook.

DiNapoli’s report on economic trends finds an uneven recovery from the recession that’s still hitting many areas hard three years later. And while New York’s employment growth has been better than the national average for the past two years, the state has lost jobs faster than other states in recent months.

As for the near future, the comptroller is offering a cautious view. DiNapoli said Wall Street has resumed job cuts after weak earnings from September to December followed losses of $3 billion in the third quarter of 2011. That’s critical to all New Yorkers. State government has traditionally depended on the financial sector for 20 percent of its revenue. And hard times on Wall Street have led to hard times for schools, other public services, and taxpayers.

Sharp increase in oil prices and the continuing European economic crisis could also put a big dent in New York’s banking and tourism sectors. Those are critical areas for New York City’s economy, which drive’s state revenue.

“After a strong first half of 2011, job growth in New York was markedly weaker during the second half of the year, raising concerns about the pace of the recovery in 2012,” according to DiNapoli’s report.

Among DiNapoli’s findings:

• New York regained 183,000 private sector jobs lost in the recession, and lost 29,300 public-sector jobs. Overall, New York recovered 46 percent of jobs lost in the recession.

• New York ranked 16th among the states in regaining jobs.

• Consumer confidence hasn’t rebounded.

• New York City got back 52 percent of jobs lost in the recession.

• Job recovery was weaker in the metro suburbs. The lower Hudson Valley regained 14 percent, while Long Island lost a fraction of 1 percent.

• Manufacturing, the sector that a century ago helped bring New York to global prominence before falling into decline, is gaining strength.

• Personal debt declined during the recession and peaked at 2009, although it rose slightly in the third quarter of 2011. Personal debt was estimated at $49,700 per person in the third quarter, most of it in mortgages and student loan debt.

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