Tonawanda News

April 18, 2014

Slow regional job growth continues in WNY

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Job growth in the region continued at a slow but steady pace in March, as the Buffalo Niagara Falls metro area adding 3,200 jobs — with all but 100 of them in the private sector — over the previous 12 months, the state Labor Department reported Thursday.

Compared to March of last year, the region saw a 0.6 percent increase in jobs, well below the 1.2 percent (103,600 jobs) the state and 1.6 percent increase (2.2 million jobs) the country saw during the same time period.

For the private sector, the Buffalo Niagara Falls area gained 3,100 jobs over the previous 12 months, at an annual growth rate of 0.7 percent.

But, with the exception of a handful of months, March reflected a consistency that has lasted for the better part of four years.

There have been a few hiccups, like December, were the area lost jobs. Overall, most of the months have shown an increase in jobs ranging from 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent.

Overall, New York added 103,600 jobs over the 12 months ending in March, with the state adding 108,200 private sector jobs and losing 4,600 government jobs. Statewide, educational and health services added 41,200 jobs since March 2013, while manufacturing lost 5,200.

Officials said the state has experienced employment growth in 33 of the past 39 months, adding New York remains one of only 16 states to have regained all of the private sector jobs lost during the recession.

“Looking over the past year, the state has added more than 100,000 private sector jobs. In addition, the state’s jobless rate has declined by 1 percentage point over the past 12 months, which is a steeper rate drop than in the nation as a whole over the same time frame,” said Bohdan M. Wynnyk, deputy director of the Division of Research and Statistics.

Locally, job totals went up by 900 or 1 percent in the educational and health services sector during that time period, offsetting a loss of 600 or 1.2 percent in manufacturing.

The statewide unemployment rate crept up from 6.8 percent in February to 6.9 percent in March, as 22,900 more people felt confident enough to enter the job market, though New York’s jobless rate has fallen sharply from the 7.9 percent rate in March 2013.

The national jobless rate remained unchanged between February and March at 6.7 percent.

There were 204,914 unemployed people in New York in March.

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