Labor Statistics for the Western New York Region Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautaugua, Erie and Niagara Counties
Over the 12 months ending April 2013, private sector employment in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metro area increased by 6,400, or 1.4 percent, to 455,800. Job gains were centered in leisure and hospitality (+3,300), professional and business services (+2,300), educational and health services (+1,700), trade, transportation and utilities (+1,000), financial activities (+200) and other services (+200). Employment losses were greatest in natural resources, mining and construction (-1,500) and manufacturing (-600). Government employment decreased (-1,800) over the year.
Special Interest to the Western New York Region:
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Service-Providing Sector Leads the Way (Excerpted from the October 2011 issue of Employment in New York State newsletter)
Though the job count is still below pre-recession levels, the economy in Western New York -- Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties -- has improved greatly in the past year. The region’s labor market continues to strengthen; the private sector job count has shown over-the-year gains every month since August 2010. Further, this strength has been broad-based, with most sectors adding jobs.
Over the past year, private sector jobs in Western New York grew by 5,300 (+1.0%) to 530,600 in August 2011.
Sectors that added the most jobs over the past year:
- Educational and health services (private) (+3,500)
- Natural resources, mining and construction (+2,700)
- Trade, transportation and utilities (+1,200)
- Professional and business services (+900)
Western New York’s falling unemployment rate also reflects the improving local economy. The region’s unemployment rate was 7.3% in August 2011, down from 8.0% in August 2010. This was the lowest August rate for Western New York since 2008. It was also well below the U.S. rate of 9.1%. The region’s jobless rate has been below year-ago levels now for 16 months in a row.
Also, the jobless total in Western New York has been below year-ago levels every month since May 2010. As of August 2011, it was 51,600. This was better than August 2010’s jobless count of 57,200, but it was still well above the pre-recession level of 32,600 (August 2007).
In August 2011, educational and health care services (private) employed 108,500 in Western New York, making it one of the largest employers. The sector accounts for more than 20% of private sector jobs there. It is also a major driver for the local economy. A study by the Center for Governmental Research found that private higher education pumped in more than $1.3 billion to the region’s economy in 2009. According to the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metro area ranks high on many lists:
- In the top 15 U.S. metro areas for academic R&D funding
- Ranked 7th in National Institute of Health funding dollars (per capita)
- Ranked 4th in Science and Engineering graduates (per capita)
The “Great Recession” erased many jobs in the region’s construction industry. However, this sector had surprisingly strong growth this summer. Over the past year, construction jobs increased by 2,700, or 10.8%, to 27,800 in August 2011, or back to its pre-recession level. Road and infrastructure projects have helped boost employment in this sector.
During economic downturns, consumers often spend less money. Thus, retail jobs in the region dropped almost 5% in the first year of the recession. While the job count has not climbed back to its pre-recession level, this economically-sensitive sector added 1,200 jobs over the year. Growth here points to greater consumer confidence and willingness to buy.
The job count in professional and business services grew by 900 over the past year. It has returned to its pre-recession levels (80,000). This industry sector offers a broad array of careers, ranging from entry-level temp work to some of the highest-paying jobs in the region.
After suffering through the worst national recession in many decades, the Western New York regional economy has expanded over the past year. The local job market has strengthened, as more and more companies are hiring. Companies continue to invest in Western New York, which will help the region to grow in the future.For more information, please contact:
NYS Department of Labor
290 Main St. Room 216
Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone: (716) 851-2740
Fax: (716) 851-2607
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