Area Jobs on the Chopping Block

March 10, 2012 Updated Mar 10, 2012 at 7:36 PM EDT

By Allen Leight

March 10, 2012 Updated Mar 10, 2012 at 7:36 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The latest Department of Labor statistics show the economy added about 227,000 jobs, yet the unemployment rate remained at 8.3%.

"First of all, ignore the rate. The rate doesn't tell you much of anything, and the reason why is you've got a lot of folks in America who aren't looking for jobs anymore. They don't show up on these things...and so the real number, somewhere in the 9's," said Jeff Macke, co-host of 'Breakout' on Yahoo! Finance.

Locally, the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and William Street Post Office in Buffalo have been the targets of proposed cut-backs and closures.

On the line is more than 1,500 jobs in total for the WNY region.

U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins met with the U.S. Postmaster General recently to make the case to keep the Buffalo processing facility open.

The facility has been targeted for closure as the Post Office seeks to cut costs and adjust service in order to offset massive losses.

"If this is a cost-savings move, why would you close the facility that you, yourself have recognized as being efficient and cost-effective. You should hold that up as a national model, not close it," points out Higgins.

About 700 jobs would be lost or moved should the post office shut down.

In Niagara County, nearly 850 jobs are on the line as the Pentagon has proposed stripping the 107th Airlift Wing of its mission and three planes.

Congresswoman Kathy Hochul met with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently in an effort to find a new mission for the air wing and save those jobs.

Panetta said he would pay a visit to airbase personally.

"I'm holding up some optimism with his visit here, [that] he'll be able to see what we know first hand. This is an outstanding facility, and we need to maintain and preserve it in the future," said Hochul.

Panetta plans to visit the air base when his schedule permits.

As for the post office, officials have delayed any approved closures for at least a few months to allow for congress and the administration time to come up with alternative plans.