Buffalo job growth hit a 17 year high in 2016

Posted at 2:30 PM, Mar 12, 2017

Buffalo saw more job growth last year that it did any other year since 1999, according to The Buffalo News.

The news publication says new data released last week shows the Buffalo Niagara job market had its best year for hiring in 17 years.

The new hires pushed unemployment rates down to about five percent, according to the article. It also says wages went on the upswing, rising by 6.1 percent during the third quarter, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With more jobs and more people working, people are making and spending more money, making the ripple effect beneficial to the region's economy.

While this is all good news, the Buffalo Niagara job market is still not growing as fast as rest of the country, according to The Buffalo News article. However, considering the region's population growth is stagnant, the rate of job increase is looking good. It's easier to add jobs when the population is growing, as David Robinson points out in his article.

Robinson says there are four main reasons the local job market is growing faster:

  • The Buffalo Niagara financial service sector has positive momentum. Banks, such as M&T, are expanding nationally, which brings work to their Buffalo headquarters.
  • An uptick in building projects has pushed the construction employment to a 25-year high. However, the local construction employment is still 16 percent below the national average. Still, the Buffalo Niagara market has a heavier union representation, meaning wages are about 8 percent higher than the national average, so each construction project in this region has a bigger economic impact.
  • Downtown Buffalo is growing and hotels are popping up left and right. As the downtown area grows and hotels are added, more tourists visit the region.
  • The local manufacturing base has stabilized. After decades of decline, the Buffalo Niagara job market's factory employment has actually grown about two percent in five years.

Still, when all is said and done, when it comes down to it, the local economy is dependent on the overall economy.