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Justin Fox

New York Is Creating Jobs But Losing People

The city’s economy is still strong, but lack of new housing may be starting to hold it back.

So close, yet so far away.

So close, yet so far away.

Photographer: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

After adding more than 1.3 million inhabitants since the early 1990s, New York City has been shrinking since mid-2016. According to estimates released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau, the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area lost population in the 12-month periods ending July 2018 and July 2017 as well.

This raises an important question: Is New York shrinking because nobody wants to come here, or because there’s not enough housing to accommodate the people who do? It’s impossible to give a definite answer, but I thought it might be interesting to compare the population numbers with another important data series — payroll employment: