| May 22, 2014 |
Design proves vital to the NYC economy
Boh staff
By Staff

In honor of the second annual NYCxDesign week, which closed this week, the Center for an Urban Future conducted a survey to find out just how vital design is to the New York City economy.

The findings? New York has 65% more designers than any other metro area in the United States, and employment at city design firms has increased by nearly 10% since the 2008 recession.

According to the survey, the architecture and design sector is a critical and growing part of New York City’s economy. In 2013 the New York City metro area was home to 40,340 full-time designers (far more designers than any other metro area in the U.S.) with the next largest pool in Los Angeles, which has 24,460, followed by Chicago at 16,100.

The number of designers in New York is also up significantly from 2010, when there were 38,340 designers, and 2000, when there were 23,143. These designers work not only at architecture and interior design companies, but in a wide variety of industries including the arts, media, advertising, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, real estate, and financial services.

Although employment at design firms dipped in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the number of design sector jobs bounced back quickly after the economy started to pick up again.

Between 2010 and 2012, the number of employees at city design firms increased by nearly 10%, going from a post-recession low of 22,015 in 2010 to 24,079 two years later. In the 10 years between 2003 and 2012, employment in the city’s design sector increased 23%.

Over this period, Brooklyn and Queens have both outpaced Manhattan in the growth of design firms. While the number of all design firms in Manhattan increased by just 6% during this time, Brooklyn experienced a 101% gain and Queens a 45% gain.

Brooklyn experienced a significant spike in firms in nearly every design field, including architecture at 149%, while Queens saw a 63% increase in architectural firms and a 61% percent increase in interior design firms.

This report is a follow-up to several previous reports published by the Center for an Urban Future about the economic importance of New York’s design industries including Growth By Design (2011), Designing New York’s Future (2012) and 8 Ways to Grow NYC’s Design Sector (2013).

Graphs and information courtesy of the Center for an Urban Future

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