Tonawanda News

April 2, 2013

Job market slows down in Buffalo Niagara Falls region

BY JOE OLENICK
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — In February, the Buffalo Niagara Falls region added 1,200 jobs over the past 12 months and 3,000 private sector jobs, according to the state labor department.

However, the 0.2 percent growth lagged behind the rest of the state and country. New York added 66,500 jobs since February 2012, with 81,500 in the private sector, roughly 0.8 percent growth. The country added 1.9 million jobs, about 1.5 percent growth, as well as 2.09 million in the private sector, during the same time period.

Drops in manufacturing and construction offset the success in the service sector hiring locally, said labor market analyst John Slenker. In the Buffalo Niagara Falls region, 500 jobs were lost in manufacturing since February 2012 and 800 in construction.

“But we’re still up,” Slenker said.

Typically, January and February can be tricky to figure out. Slenker said a big reason for the job count 12 months ago was the warmer weather. This year, construction has been affected by the persistent winter weather, while manufacturing is starting to reach normal job levels, Slenker said.

“Manufacturing took a deep dip in the recession, then it bounced back,” he said. “Now it’s getting into more of a normal trend.”

The region also lost 1,800 government jobs, most of which was from cutbacks due to tight budgets at local school districts.

”We’ve seen that coming,” Slenker said.

Retailers in the region increased hiring by 800 jobs or 1.3 percent, while the leisure and hospitality industry added 2,100 jobs or a 4 percent annual pace.

Statewide, professional and business services added the most jobs, with 37,500, of any industry sector since February 2012. Private educational and health services added 27,800 had the second largest increase in jobs over the past year.

Over the past 12 months, government lost more jobs at 15,000 than any other sector in the state. Those losses were concentrated at the local level with about 12,500 gone. The 13,300 job losses in the manufacturing sector were greatest in durable goods (8,500), especially computer and electronic products (2,700.)

New York’s unemployment rate remained at 8.4 percent in February. With 7.26 million private sector jobs reported in February, state officials were pleased.

”New York remains one of only seven states in the nation to have recovered all of the private sector jobs lost since the last recession,” said Bohdan M. Wynnyk, deputy director of the Division of Research and Statistics.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.