BY JOE OLENICK
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — January was the Buffalo-Niagara Falls region’s best month in job growth since the fall, the state labor department reported Thursday.
The area added 3,500 jobs over the past 12 months, a 0.7 percent increase, its strongest growth since October, the labor department said.
Job growth was even stronger in the private sector, with private employers added 4,900 jobs since January 2012, a 1.1 percent increase. That growth helped offset a 1.5 percent decline in government jobs, especially in education.
Compared to the rest of the state and country, job growth in the Buffalo Niagara region was sluggish. The 0.7 percent job growth rate during January was less than half the nationwide growth of 1.6 percent, (2 million jobs) and well below the statewide increase of 1.1 percent (90,800 jobs.)
The state’s economy added 29,600 private sector jobs in January, breaking a record with a 17th consecutive month of adding private sector jobs, the State Department of Labor reported. The number of private sector jobs in the state increased by 102,600, or 1.4 percent since January 2012. Over the same time frame, the nation’s private sector job count increased by 1.9 percent or 2.1 million.
“New York state’s strong economy continues to grow in 2013 and is setting records for consecutive job growth,” said Bohdan M. Wynnyk, deputy director of the Division of Research and Statistics.
State officials were gleeful with New York’s performance over the past 12 months.
”When compared to the 166,000 jobs added across the country during the same month, nearly one out of every five jobs added in the nation were created here in New York,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “This report shows that our work to rebuild New York’s economy and its government is paying off and New York’s economy is on the right track.”
Professional and business services added the most jobs (32,900) of any sector in the state since January of 2012. Sector job gains over this period were focused in administrative and support services (18,000) and professional, scientific and technical services (15,600.)
Over the past year, government lost more jobs with 11,800 positions eliminated than any other sector in the state. Government sector job losses were concentrated in local government, with 7,500 lost. The manufacturing sector lost 9,500.
For all of 2012, the Buffalo-Niagara Falls region saw private-sector job gains of 1.2 percent in 2012 compared to 1.5 percent in 2011. The nonfarm sector, which counts public-sector jobs, rose 1.5 percent, up from 1.0 percent the previous year.
The region added jobs at a 0.7 percent pace last year, roughly three times faster than the 0.2 percent rate initially reported.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241.