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Data - May 2014

New York’s Design Economy

As New York City opens its second annual design week, this data analysis documents the continued economic importance of New York City’s design sector. It shows that New York has 65 percent more designers than any other metro area in the U.S., and that employment at city design firms increased by nearly 10 percent since the 2008 recession.




Tags: economic growth | creative economy | design

New York City’s second annual design week, NYCxDesign, will make its debut tomorrow, showcasing the city’s powerful assets in a range of design fields. With hundreds of exhibits, studio visits and talks taking place across the five boroughs between May 9th and May 20th, NYCxDesign aims to raise the profile of one of the city’s most important and underappreciated economic sectors.

Without a doubt, the architecture and design sector is a critical and growing part of New York City’s economy. As this analysis documents, in 2013 the New York City metro area was home to 40,340 full-time designers. That is far and away 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 (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 design companies, but in a wide variety of industries, including the arts, media, advertising, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, real estate, and financial services.

New York City is also an international hub for design firms working in fashion, architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, industrial design, and graphic design. Overall, the city is home to 3,884 firms in these six subsectors, compared to 2,731 in Los Angeles and 2,358 in Chicago.

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 percent, going from a post-recession low of 22,015 in 2010 to 24,079 two years later. In the ten years between 2003 and 2012, employment in the city’s design sector increased 23 percent.

Citywide, three different design fields saw increases of at least 20 percent in the number of firms between 2003 and 2012: fashion design (with a 38 percent increase in firms), landscape design (+32 percent) and architecture (+24 percent). The number of firms increased by smaller amounts in other design fields, including interior design (+12 percent), industrial design (+7 percent) and graphic design (+2 percent).

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 percent during this time, Brooklyn experienced a 101 percent gain and Queens a 45 percent gain. Brooklyn experienced a significant spike in firms in nearly every design field, including architecture (149 percent increase), fashion design (+119 percent) and graphic design (+115 percent). Queens saw a 63 percent increase in architectural firms and a 61 percent increase in interior design firms. Over the same period, Manhattan experienced a 24 percent increase in fashion design firms, a 14 percent increase in architecture firms, and a 12 percent decrease in graphic design firms. 

However, though the rate of growth is higher in Brooklyn and Queens, Manhattan is still very much the center of the city’s design sector; the borough is home to 2,989 firms employing 21,684 people, compared to 532 firms employing 1,472 people in Brooklyn and 273 firms employing 785 people in Queens.   

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).

 

Source: Occupational Employment Survey (OES); Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2013. New York-White Plains-Wayne Metro Division. See Note 1.

 

Source: OES; BLS, 2013. Numbers represent Metro Division estimates. See Note 2.

 

Source: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW); BLS, 2012. Numbers represent county level estimates. See Note 3.

 

Source: QCEW; BLS, 2003-2012.

 

Source: QCEW; BLS, 2003-2012.

 

Source: QCEW; BLS, 2003-2012.

 

Source: QCEW; BLS, 2003-2012.

 

Source: QCEW; BLS, 2003-2012.

 

 

Source: QCEW; BLS, 2003-2012.

 

Growth of Design Firms in New York City: 2003-2012
  2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Graphic Design Firms 1000 973 958 981 1040 1083 1049 1032 1017 1018
Industrial Design Services 99 99 104 106 110 118 119 115 111 106
Interior Design Services 692 691 728 750 816 866 846 815 788 775
Total NYC Design Firms 3340 3366 3459 3578 3848 4058 3969 3911 3880 3884
Architectural Firms 1073 1095 1149 1224 1295 1342 1323 1315 1330 1333
Landscape Architectural Services 62 86 90 88 93 99 92 86 82 82
Fashion Design Firms 414 422 430 429 494 550 540 548 552 570


Source: QCEW; BLS, 2003-2012.

 

Growth of Design Firms in Brooklyn: 2003-2012
  2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Landscape Architectural Services 12 14 14 12 13 14 12 10 11 14
Interior Design Services 50 53 53 63 68 67 64 66 59 65
Industrial Design Services 16 17 17 18 23 26 26 29 30 27
Total Brooklyn Design Firms 265 283 282 315 373 430 430 457 491 532
Graphic Design Firms 85 90 90 102 115 141 139 154 168 183
Fashion Design Firms 37 38 38 38 50 60 63 69 73 81
Architectural Firms 65 71 70 82 104 122 126 129 150 162


Source: QCEW; BLS, 2003-2012.

 

Growth of Design Firms in Queens: 2003-2012
  2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Industrial Design Services 9 6 6 5 6 7 8 8 8 7
Landscape Architectural Services 12 12 13 13 11 10 10 11 11 12
Graphic Design Firms 53 52 50 53 54 58 60 58 64 65
Total Queens Design Firms 2077 196 213 230 252 271 269 258 264 273
Interior Design Services 38 39 44 49 64 70 71 62 58 61
Architectural Firms 63 69 82 90 94 100 96 95 96 103
Fashion Design Firms 13 18 18 20 23 26 24 24 27 25


Source: QCEW; BLS, 2003-2012.

 

Growth of Design Firms in Manhattan: 2003-2012
  2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Graphic Design Firms 856 819 805 811 852 866 830 801 766 752
Industrial Design Services 70 70 75 77 77 80 80 73 69 68
Landscape Architectural Services 50 53 55 57 63 67 62 59 55 51
Total Manhattan Design Firms 2833 2804 2873 2937 3119 3254 3166 3098 3029 2989
Interior Design Services 590 586 613 624 667 711 692 670 656 636
Architectural Firms 903 913 953 1001 1045 1074 1058 1051 1042 1029
Fashion Design Firms 364 363 372 367 415 456 444 444 441 453


Source: QCEW; BLS, 2003-2012.

 

Design Industry Employment by Borough
Brooklyn 2003 2010 2011 2012
Architectural Firms 299 387 506 551
Landscape Architectural Services 27 21 82 92
Interior Design Services 110 167 130 139
Industrial Design Services 18 67 88 88
Graphic Design Firms 128 285 335 425
Fashion Design Firms 100 124 141 177
Brooklyn Design Firms Employees 682 1051 1282 1472
         
Bronx 2003 2010 2011 2012
Architectural Firms 13 13 11 11
Landscape Architectural Services ND 15 ND ND
Interior Design Services 16 11 11 12
Industrial Design Services ND ND ND ND
Graphic Design Firms 4 9 14 13
Fashion Design Firms ND 16 11 10
Bronx Design Firms Employees 33 64 47 46
         
Queens 2003 2010 2011 2012
Architectural Firms 230 297 287 323
Landscape Architectural Services ND 16 14 21
Interior Design Services 116 129 138 178
Industrial Design Services 18 ND ND ND
Graphic Design Firms 136 132 135 195
Fashion Design Firms 44 48 74 68
Queens Design Firms Employees 544 622 648 785
         
Manhattan 2003 2010 2011 2012
Architectural Firms 9053 10396 10788 11406
Landscape Architectural Services 330 346 304 323
Interior Design Services 2134 2166 2255 2399
Industrial Design Services 253 350 252 264
Graphic Design Firms 4536 4260 4464 4317
Fashion Design Firms 1904 2663 2563 2975
Manhattan Design Firms Employees 18210 20181 20626 21684
         
Staten Island 2003 2010 2011 2012
Architectural Firms 113 72 74 75
Landscape Architectural Services ND ND ND ND
Interior Design Services 17 15 14 17
Industrial Design Services 16 ND ND ND
Graphic Design Firms ND 10 ND ND
Fashion Design Firms ND ND 9 ND
Staten Island Design Firms Employees 146 97 97 92


Source: QCEW; BLS, 2003-2012. See Note 4.

 

Notes

1. Because survey data was suppressed for select occupational categories in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2011, an average of the year before and year after was used. For 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003, an average of subsequent years was used for the 'Designers, All Other' category, since it was first introduced in 2004. Note also that the New York-White Plains-Wayne Metro Division definition changed slightly in 2005 to include three additional counties in New Jersey. Part of the increase between 2004 and 2005 should therefore be attributed to that change

2. Metro Division definitions are as follows: Boston (Boston-Quincy NECTA Division); Chicago (Chicago-Naperville-Joliet Metro Division); Dallas (Dallas-Plano-Irving Metro Division); Los Angeles (Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale Metro Division); Miami (Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall Metro Division); San Francisco (San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City Metro Division); Seattle (Seattle-Bellevue-Everett Metro Division).

3. County definitions are as follows: New York City (Bronx, Kings, Queens, New York, Richmond); Chicago (Cook); Dallas (Dallas); Los Angeles (Los Angeles); Miami (Miami-Dade); San Francisco (San Francisco); Seattle (King); Philadelphia (Philadelphia).

4. ND: Not Disclosable -- data did not meet BLS or State agency disclosure standards.