NEW YORK CITY-A full-blown economic recovery is still in the future, but Manhattan’s commercial real estate fundamentals rallied in the first quarter, Cushman & Wakefield said Tuesday. That renewed strength is especially notable by comparison to the market’s nearly inert state a year ago, and in many respects has occurred more rapidly than expected.

At a media briefing Tuesday morning, C&W’s Joseph Harbert said a key factor was job losses in the office-using employment sector. During the 2002 downturn, Manhattan’s losses were greater than the national average. This time around, the city is doing no worse than the US as a whole.

Q1 office leasing activity across Manhattan shot up 84% year-over-year, according to C&W’s quarterly report. However, the three-month total of 5.7 million square feet was strong not only by comparison to the dismal market of a year ago. It’s also up 14% over Q4 2009, which was viewed as a strong quarter in and of itself, C&W says.

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