At C.F.R., Bloomberg and Pandit unveil a report rating New York first in 'financial maturity'
New York City is the world's most economically competitive city, according to an Economist report underwritten by Citigroup, which based its rankings on a city's ability to attract capital, visitors, business, and talent.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg participated in the report's unveiling at the Upper East Side offices of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Citigroup C.E.O. Vikram Pandit moderated the event. Pandit's public affairs chief, Ed Skyler, who also happens to be a former Bloomberg deputy mayor, watched the proceedings from the side of the room.
The Economist Intelligence Unit report on "Hot Spots" ranks the economic competitiveness of the world's 120 major cities, which together comprise $20.2 trillion of G.D.P., or 29 percent of the global economy.
Overall, New York ranked number one, followed by London, Singapore, Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Zurich, Washington, Chicago and Boston.
"These traditional cities have done extremely well," said Leo Abruzzese, the Intelligence Unit's global forecasting director. "But they have other cities in emerging markets that are starting to nip at their heels. So this is not a time to be complacent."
According to the index, of the 20 fastest growing cities, 12 of them are in China and 15 in Asia.
The report gave New York City a perfect score of 100 in "financial maturity" and a 95 in "social and cultural character." Its did less well in the "environment and natural hazards" category, with a 66.7 out of 100, and in human capital, in which the city scored a 76.5 percent. The former was due largely to the threat of rising sea levels, the latter to the difficulites American immigration law poses to companies seeking to hire foreign nationals.
The report did not take income inequality into account, a topic which arose during the question-and-answer session, when a reporter asked Pandit about the Occupy Wall Street movement and its relation to income inequality in urban areas.
"It's very understandable that when we have so many people who want to do more than they're able to do, who want to have the kind of jobs they aspire to, that does create a sense of frustration, and a lot of that anger has been directed at big banks and Wall Street," said Pandit. "And that's understandable too. I think the banks over the last few years have not done a great job of keeping that trust with its customers and we need to do a lot better at that."
Then the mayor defended Pandit and his colleagues, saying that criticizing banks and finance "sells newspapers and radio and TV time, but the truth of the matter is that if you want your economy to grow you have to have the financing to do it."
The mayor also returned to a familiar theme, for him, of the importance of rich people to New York's economy.
"We would love to have everybody move here, particularly people who are gonna pay a lot of taxes," said the mayor. "That's how we take care of those who don't have the wherewithal to pay taxes. And cities that are losing the very wealthy because they're not friendly to them, or whatever, are gonna be hurt down the road."