Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

September 20, 2013

Area sees moderate job growth

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — August was another month of moderate job growth in the Buffalo Niagara Falls region.

The region’s job market grew by 0.9 percent during August, with local employers adding 5,000 jobs over the past 12 months, according to numbers released Thursday by the state labor department. The private sector had even more success, with a 1.4 percent or 6,400 job increase since August 2012. 

“Overall, these are pretty good numbers,” said John Slenker, a Labor Department analyst. “It was a pretty good month... it’s been a very nice string with good numbers.”

Slenker said there was a weakness in construction employment, at a time when the region has more highly visible building projects than it has had in years. It may reflect a general shortage of skilled tradesmen, as well as the impact of federal government budget cutbacks on road construction, he said.

“You’re seeing cranes in Buffalo, something we haven’t seen in awhile,” Slenker said. “But a lot of projects are finishing up.”

There’s also a slight weakness in the government job sector, particularly in education. But that won’t be a problem for long, Slenker said, as kids returned to school this month.

Job gains locally were centered in educational and health services with 4,000 new jobs, leisure and hospitality (2,100) and professional and business services at 1,200.

Losses were greatest in manufacturing with 400 lost jobs and government employment decreased by 1,400 over the year. Manufacturing was down locally, but the loss isn’t as bad as it had been in the past, Slenker said.

The state added 22,700 private sector jobs in August, which officials said raised New York’s private sector job count to 7,459,600, an all-time high.

“The New York state economy experienced its largest monthly jobs gain since January. New York remains just one of nine states to have regained all of the private sector jobs lost during the recession,” said Bohdan M. Wynnyk, deputy director of the Division of Research and Statistics, in a statement.

Across the state, private educational and health services added the most jobs (40,500) of any industry sector over the past year. The leisure and hospitality sector had the second largest increase in jobs (30,000) between August 2012 and August 2013.

Over the past year, manufacturing lost more jobs (11,100) than any other sector in the state. Employment losses in the government sector (6,400) were the second largest.

The state’s unemployment rate increased to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent due to the state’s expanding labor force, which grew by 24,500 in August as more New Yorkers had confidence about finding a job. The U.S. unemployment rate was a reported 7.3 percent in August.

Over 311,000 people were receiving unemployment benefits, the labor department said.

Nationally, the job market grew by 2.2 million jobs, a 1.7 percent increase over the past 12 months. The national private sector grew by 2.29 million or 2 percent during the same time period.

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