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May 6, 2011

Historical Echoes: New York City’s Economy – That Was Now, This Is Then

New York Fed Research Library

Discussions of New York City’s economy that focus on declining employment, a shrinking securities industry, and a reduction in municipal jobs might suggest the present. These concerns, however, are not new. In the 1970s, New York City faced many of the same problems it does now in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Back then, some observers doubted that the city could ever recover its former glory.

“The economy of New York City is an amalgam of many diverse elements. Above and beyond being the center of the nation’s largest metropolitan area, New York holds a leading position in finance, international trade, communications, fashion, entertainment, culture, and legal and advertising services—both in the nation and in the world. Yet the city’s economy has been caught in a downward spiral.”

For a description of how things looked just before the city began to turn around thirty years ago—without reference to Studio 54 or Reggie Jackson—see Rona B. Stein’s article in the summer 1977 edition of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Quarterly Review.

The views expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the author(s).

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