Council speaker and mayoral candidate, Christine Quinn's State of the City Speech, delivered at City Hall, focused mainly on a new City Council study that shows the city's middle class has been shrinking as a percentage of the city’s workforce. The word 'Middle Class' was mentioned 44 times in the speech and 'working class' 5 times.
The so-called, "Middle Class Squeeze" report found the unemployment rate for middle-income residents is at an all time high of 6.2%.
“For the past eight years, the Council has worked to improve the lives of middle class New Yorkers. We’ve focused on making neighborhoods safer, improving schools, and supporting small businesses," Quinn said in a statement released along with the report ahead of the speech.
"We need to make sure that the people who want to stay in our great city can afford to stay here," said Quinn. "We have no greater challenge or obligation to the families we represent than to tackle this problem head on and deliver results. The future of our city depends on it. It comes as no surprise to any New Yorker that affordable housing is at the heart of this crisis."
Addressing the high consecutive unemployment rate, Quinn proposed a new initiative that will create immediate new full time jobs. "Working with Council Member Diana Reyna and SBS, we’re going to launch a brand new pilot program called New Skills, New Jobs, Quinn announced. "Participants will spend up to eight weeks in a paid training program at a company that has a full time job opening. They’ll get a new set of skills, and on completion of the program they’ll be hired on a permanent basis. With New Skills, New Jobs, we’ll get hundreds of New Yorkers on the path to a new career.," she added.
Quinn also said too many residents face out of control costs of living. Under her plan, she said the city plans to build 40,000 new affordable apartment units specifically for middle-income New Yorkers. This plan is expected to be carried out over the next 10 years. "To preserve and strengthen the middle class, we need to create good jobs, and make sure that works have the training they need to enter the job market of the 21st century. We must finally address the cost that makes New York such an expensive place to live," said Quinn.