Assessing NYC's Competitiveness as a Home for Human Capital
The future economic prosperity of the New York City metropolitan area depends on attracting and retaining a highly-educated workforce. In coming years, economic growth will be driven by industries that require highly-skilled workers with specialized knowledge, technical expertise and an ability to innovate. Development of these industries in turn creates new investment and employment opportunities and strengthens the tax base. Attracting a young, highly talented workforce will be essential to New York City’s ability to retain its strength in core industries and successfully cultivate emerging industries.
The Citizens Budget Commission has completed a scorecard assessing the New York City metropolitan area’s competitiveness in attracting, cultivating and retaining talent. The scorecard is based on the relative performance of the New York City metro area against 14 of the largest domestic metro areas on a comprehensive set of quantitative indicators. The scorecard groups the indicators according to three categories: Demographics, which captures the presence and net in-migration of the highly educated; Human Capital, which focuses on educational, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities; and Quality of Life, which focuses on public services and amenities that make an area attractive to potential residents.
The scorecard shows the New York City metropolitan area is very competitive in attracting and retaining highly-skilled individuals. New York City dominates the other metro regions in Demographics and Human Capital: Prominent higher education institutions, robust employment opportunities, and competitive pay make the metro region an attractive location. A safe environment and world-class cultural and recreational establishments are also important competitive advantages. But New York City is not the undisputed leader; Washington DC and Silicon Valley are very competitive with the metro area, and surpass New York City on important measures, including the growth of highly educated in the population. Despite recent improvements, New York City continues to lag greatly behind Silicon Valley on measures of entrepreneurship. And Quality of Life issues, in particular lengthy commutes and high housing costs, pose a challenge.
While New York City has enjoyed a renaissance in the last twenty years and is now a highly attractive destination for businesses, residents and visitors, it is important to remember that New York City has not always been a desirable place to live and work. New York City cannot cruise on auto-pilot; to maintain a competitive position, it must pursue policies to expand human capital development, foster emerging industries and address weaknesses in quality of life.