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Quick Hits: Wall Street Job Losses Cause Citywide Panic


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

Hey, brother, can you spare 165,000 jobs?

That's double the initial estimate of New York's job losses in the next 24 months due to the economic downturn.

City Comptroller William Thompson New York upped the number of Wall Street workers who might lose their jobs to 35,000 from 25,000.

Wall Street is New York's key industry. Its high-paying jobs drive Manhattan real estate prices into the stratosphere and support two to four other workers in other sectors ranging from restaurants to law firms.

The global credit crunch has pounded Wall Street, leading to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers as well as Uncle Sam's rescue of insurance giant American International Group (AIG). Meanwhile, Wall Street stalwarts Morgan Stanley (MS) and Goldman Sachs (GS) have recast themselves as bank holding companies.

Wall Street's workforce peaked at 203,000 in December 2000, just before the dot-com boom became a bust. The securities industry had about 181,000 workers in July 2008, but generous severance packages can mean it takes months for some layoffs to show up in unemployment data.

Wall Street employs about 5% of the city's workers, but generates 23% of all wages.

Without Wall Street, New York might as well be Kansas - or worse: New Jersey.
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