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Buffalo Area Continues Slow Job Recovery
By David Robinson
March 24, 2011
The region has gained 1,500 jobs over the last year — a 0.3 percent increase — as increased hiring by private sector employers offset cutbacks in government jobs.
A flurry of hiring at retailers, restaurants and in business and professional services jobs fueled the job growth. At the same time, the region shed 500 government jobs, mostly because of cutbacks by state government and local schools.
The state, departing from its long-standing practice, did not release unemployment statistics for February. Under new guidelines imposed by the federal government, monthly unemployment figures will be released on Tuesday, five days after the local employment data is disclosed.
But the jobs data released today indicates that the recovery in local employment remains tepid. The pace of job growth locally over the last year is half as robust as the statewide growth rate of 0.6 percent and less than a third of the 1 percent increase nationally during the same period.
The same trend holds true for private sector jobs, where the 0.5 percent increase locally is less than half the 1.2 percent increase statewide and slightly better than a third of the 1.4 percent increase across the United States.
Even after February's job growth, the region still has 13,300 fewer jobs than it did three years ago, before the recession began battering the local job market. At the current rate of growth, it would take about 8 1/2 years for the region to regain all of the jobs it lost during the downturn.