Tuesday, February 10, 2009

[The Life of Shaun #326] It's just a jump to the left...

...to try and avoid the axe.  And it seems that, for the time being at least, I have.  Of course, the last "time being" was two months, so I am not exactly doing a little gay dance around East London.  But very relieved that I have somewhere to be at 08.00 in the morning - "for the time being".

The rumours of MS having layoffs today were true.  There was some thought that they'd only be for the finance (read: accounting) division, but they were all over.  Our overall larger team lost five people, but just one went from my more immediate team, though another person will now only be with us half time and elsewhere half time.

My year of exploring Britain - and a few other places on the side - will get ton continue for a little while longer - hooray!


PS - Cerebral masturbation material for my urbanophile and coastal friends below.  As my friend, Russ, who sent it, says: "Finally, somebody revealed how expensive it is to live in NYC as opposed to SF.  Everybody always said how similar they are in terms of cost of living – unless you actually have lived in both cities...".


N.Y.C. so costly you need to earn six figures to make middle class

BY Elizabeth Hays

Friday, February 6th 2009, 1:04 PM

More than $2,000 a month for day care. Some of the highest phone bills in the country. Jam-packed, 50-plus-minute commutes to work.

You knew it was tough to live in New York City — but this tough?

A new report shows just how ugly — and expensive — New York City can be, especially for the middle class, squeezed by skyrocketing living costs and stagnant wages.

The study, released Thursday by the Center for an Urban Future, shows that New York City is hands-down the most expensive place to live in the country.

Among the findings:

  • A New Yorker would have to make $123,322 a year to have the same standard of living as someone making $50,000 in Houston.
  • In Manhattan, a $60,000 salary is equivalent to someone making $26,092 in Atlanta.
  • You knew it was expensive to live in Manhattan, but Queens? The report tagged Queens the fifth most expensive urban area in the country.
  • The average monthly rent in New York is $2,801, 53% higher than San Francisco, the second most expensive city in the country.

"Income levels that would enable a very comfortable lifestyle in other locales barely suffice to provide the basics in New York City," the report concludes.

Other belt-tightening details include:

  • New Yorkers paid about $34 a month for phone service in 2006. In San Francisco, similar service cost $17 a month.
  • Home heating costs have jumped 125% in the past five years and are up 243% since 1998.
  • Full-time day care costs can run up to $25,000 a year for one child, depending on the neighborhood, or about as much as some college tuitions.
  • Meanwhile, wages in the city have remained mostly flat in all boroughs but Manhattan — even during the boom years from 2003 to 2007.

It's not only money that makes life here hard, researchers said — which might not be news to most New Yorkers.

Take commutes, for example. The report found that many New Yorkers put up with commutes double the national average of 25.5 minutes.

Commuting to Manhattan from St. Albans, Queens, can take 51.7 minutes, while getting there from Canarsie, Brooklyn, can run 50.8 minutes.

Researchers said the combination of skyrocketing costs, stagnant wages and a deteriorating quality of life forced hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to flee the city for cheaper areas during the boom years from 2002 to 2006.

The report found that more New Yorkers left each year during the boom than left during the dark days of the early 1990s.

Center for Urban Future Director Jonathan Bowles noted that the number of people fleeing the city has slowed since 2007 as the rest of the country has sunk into recession, jobs have dried up nationwide and home values here started to sink.

Mayor Bloomberg downplayed the report but said he is concerned about the constant drumbeat of job losses in the city.

"There is turnover all the time. That's very healthy," Bloomberg said. "We're doing fine, but it is very worrisome, the number of people who are losing their jobs."


With Adam Lisberg

Shaun H. Coley
Shadwell, Tower Hamlets
London, UK


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