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NEW YORK CITY-The current recession, which has brought the city’s jobless rate up to 10.3%, its highest level in 16 years, hasn’t hit Brooklyn quite as hard, according to a report from the borough’s chamber of commerce. Federal stimulus dollars have been a key factor, and Brooklyn has experienced job growth in some sectors in spite of losses citywide.

Nonetheless, Brooklyn residents are feeling the squeeze, as many commute across the East River to jobs in the Financial District–or used to commute there before being downsized. The borough’s personal income is projected to decline 2.9% to $81 billion this year, marking the first such decline in at last 40 years.

Employment in the borough is expected to decrease by 25,000 this year overall, compared to a decline of 8,500 for Brooklyn-based jobs. That compares to a projection of 115,000 job losses citywide, according to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s “2009 Brooklyn Labor Market Review” released Thursday.

Helping to protect employment in the borough is the high concentration of jobs in the health, education and social services sectors, which have experienced slight growth, the report states.In the first quarter of 2009, the borough added jobs in educational support, school bus transportation, child day care, doctor’s offices, home health and residential mental health facilities.

Professional services jobs, too, showed increases in Q1, with an estimated 20% year-over-year rise in design and management consulting jobs, 8% in architecture and 6% in accounting. Although the borough’s film and TV production sector is not yet firmly established, it grew by 50% from a small base to 350 last year, according to the report

Recent expansion in the borough’s retail sector has also been a contributing factor to a relatively favorable jobs picture. Three years ago, the chamber’s annual market review found that the borough had six feet of retail space per capita, compared to 19 or 20 feet in other parts of the country. This year, Brooklyn has one in five retail jobs in the city, and is projected to shed 1,000 of them by year’s end, compared to 10,000 citywide.

The chamber’s report, which was prepared by the Fiscal Policy Institute, provides what is reportedly the first detailed analysis of how funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are impacting the borough. ARRA is pumping more than $300 million into Brooklyn-based infrastructure, including $122.5 million in transportation projects.

Largest of these is the rehabilitation of the Brooklyn Bridge, which is getting $47.2 million in stimulus funds. The report’s total does not include citywide transportation projects which occur partly in Brooklyn.

In addition, Brooklyn will receive about $186 million, or 4.65% of the national allotment of ARRA funds for public housing renovation. The borough is also receiving $722 million in ARRA funding earmarked for temporary payments to the unemployed, food stamps and Social Security payments. Brooklyn is getting 0.97% of the national total of this dedicated ARRA funding stream, compared to its 0.84% of the national population.

“Thanks to our federal legislators and advocates, Brooklyn truly benefited from the federal stimulus package,” says Carl Hum, president of the chamber, in a release. “The funding will improve our infrastructure, create jobs and help stabilize the incomes of the borough’s economically-challenged households.”

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