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Crain's New York Business

Job surge shows Brooklyn’s creative class is in session

Published on 12/20/16

Employment in the information industry, which includes film and TV production, media and software design, grew by 23% in Brooklyn last year—a gain so large that it had borough business leaders checking their math.

“People in Brooklyn have been saying these creative jobs, the information jobs and the innovation jobs should be in Brooklyn,” said Carlo Scissura, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. In 2015, “it just exploded.”

He credited the 1,900-job increase to the borough’s lower-
than-Manhattan costs and high-powered labor force, as well as a state film and television tax credit, which is available in all five boroughs. Sound stages Steiner Studios and Broadway Stages have been game changers for the sector in Brooklyn. Media companies including VICE, located in Williamsburg, and Time Inc., with 55,000 square feet of offices in Sunset Park’s Industry City, also helped drive the growth, which was revealed in a report by the chamber and real estate services firm Washington Square Partners.

Steiner’s chairman, Doug Steiner, called the borough “home of the creative class.” His waterfront location near hip areas such as Williamsburg and Dumbo attracts productions nationwide. “We have, in essence, an L.A. lot in the middle of New York City,” he said. Steiner is building six more sound stages at its Brooklyn Navy Yard home, which opened in 2004 and expanded in 2012.

Brooklyn added 30,000 private-sector jobs in 2015, up 5.6% versus 3.2% citywide. Health care and social services account for the most in the borough, roughly 178,400, followed by tourism. The new information jobs went to people with college or advanced degrees, while the borough’s manufacturers have struggled to fill entry-level positions. “It shows that we have work to do,” Scissura said.