Ups and Downs of Buffalo's Economy

September 17, 2012 Updated Sep 17, 2012 at 7:17 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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September 17, 2012 Updated Sep 17, 2012 at 7:17 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - A new report looks at the ups and downs of Buffalo's economy. Buffalo is doing better than many cities, but some areas are a concern.

A new On Numbers economic index shows that the Buffalo area's economy is currently outperforming three-quarters of the nation's major markets.

Buffalo ranks 26th in the monthly ratings, which reflect the economic strength of all 102 U.S. metro areas with more than 500,000 residents.

On the bright side, researchers say Buffalo's construction sector is strong. The construction workforce in the Buffalo area grew by 9 percent since 2007. And housing prices are hanging in there. Home values are up five percent in Buffalo.

Compare that to Las Vegas where values are 59% lower than five years ago.

But researchers says it may be hard for Buffalo to sustain the rank in the future.

That's because growth in personal earnings is slowing down, growing only two percent in the past year.

Researchers say the local retail sector, which is usually strong thanks to cross border shopping, is slipping. Retail employment dropped 1.5 percent in the past year.

And they say unemployment is growing. It's 9% here. That's almost a point higher than the national rate.

Researchers say the American economy is strongest in the heartland, places like Oklahoma City, Austin and Omaha.

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