NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The pain in New Yorkers’ wallets is real. With paychecks shrinking, New Yorkers’ income fell for the first time in 70 years – and by almost twice as much as the rest of the nation.

Overall, New York residents took a 3.1 percent hit to their personal income this year, despite the fact that the recession was milder in the state than in other parts of the country, reports CBS 2’s Don Dahler.

Paychecks shrank 5.4 percent, while income from dividends, interest and rent – which is crucial to many retirees – plummeted 8.4 percent. That’s a loss of $908 billion compared to last year.

According to a new report by New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, much of the blame falls on Wall Street.

The financial industry is one of the state’s larges and best-paying employers. When the financial crisis slammed that industry, it began shedding jobs. Now that Wall Street has returned to profitability, bonuses and other compensation have also increased, but job losses continue.

CBS 2 heard a mixed bag of reactions to that news among Wall Streeters on Wednesday.

“I feel like it’s on the rebound,” Ryan Duthie, of Manhattan, said. “It seems to me that most of my friends who lost their jobs are gaining back jobs.”

“No one can get jobs. Everyone basically has their degrees and sits at home,” student Stephanie Esperance said.

“I’m in consulting, so we’re actually hiring quite a bit, which is a good sign for us,” Manhattan resident Bryan Giaimo said.

In fact, the securities industry lost 4,200 jobs during the first eight months of this year, bringing the total number of jobs lost during this crisis to over 31,000.

The report says New York’s overall economy is slowly improving, but the recovery is fragile and likely to take a long time with weak job gains.

“New Yorkers are tightening their belts,” DiNapoli said. “Government has to do the same.”

There is some good news, though – the state’s private sector added almost 70,000 jobs this year, mainly in the city, while public sector jobs continue to disappear.

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