Even in New York City, the design mecca of America, not all design industries are flourishing equally, or even at all.

The Center for an Urban Future, a think tank based in New York City, released a new report that takes a deep dive into the growth of the city's design firms. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2003 to 2012, the report looks at the number of design firms as well as their employees, and parcels out the data by borough. The report breaks down data into six sectors: graphic, industrial, interior, fashion design, architecture, and landscape architecture.

The Center for an Urban Future is funded by the Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation and Fund for the City of New York.

In 2012, New York City had more design firms than Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, and Philadelphia. It also had more architecture firms.

According to the report, New York City housed more architecture firms than any of the other five types of design firms in 2012. Architecture firms made up the largest chunk of the city's design firms in 2003 (1,073 of the 3,340), and maintained that status through 2012 (1,333 out of 3,884). The growth in architecture firms was 24 percent—more than interior, industrial, and graphic design firms, but less than fashion and landscape design.

Growth Rates in NYC Architecture Firms, 2003-2012
No. of FirmsNo. of Employees
Manhattan14%26%
Brooklyn149%84%
Queens63%40%
Staten Islandno info-34%
Bronxno info-15%

Architecture firms boomed in Brooklyn from 2003 to 2012. The number of firms increased by 149 percent, significantly more than Manhattan's 14 percent growth rate and Queen's 63 percent growth rate. (Keep in mind this counts the number of firms, not size.)

In both Queens and Manhattan, there were more architecture firms in 2012 than any other of the five types of design firms. But architecture firms in Brooklyn (162) still took second-place to graphic design firms (183) in 2012.

Drilling down to the number of employees tells a slightly different story. In Brooklyn, architecture firms employed more people than any of the other design firm types in 2012. This was was also true in 2003. But architecture firms added 252 jobs over those years, and graphic design firms (the second-largest employer), added 297.

Architecture firms in Queens employed 323 people in 2012, more than any other firm type and a 40 percent increase from 2003. The number of people employed at architecture firms fell in the two boroughs with the smallest design firm employment, Staten Island and the Bronx.

Obviously, Manhattan had more design firm employees than any other borough in 2012 (21,684). This was a 19 percent increase from 2003. Of these jobs, architecture firms were the largest employer in both 2003 and 2012. Within Manhattan architecture firms, the number of people on payrolls grew by 26 percent. The second-biggest design employer, graphic design firms, actually dropped 219 employees from their payrolls, a 5 percent drop.

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