Our President and CEO, Scott Stenclik, was quoted in a Buffalo News article that highlighted Buffalo Niagara’s jobless rate. Below is a link to the story and a copy of the article.
Buffalo Niagara jobless rate falls to 7.4 percent
Continues 2013 trend of declining unemployment
The unemployment rate in the Buffalo Niagara region fell to 7.4 percent during January – the lowest rate for that month in the last six years – as local businesses continued to hire at a modest pace, the state Labor Department said Tuesday.
The drop in the jobless rate during January continued a trend of declining unemployment that began during February and continued throughout the rest of last year.
It also comes at a time when the region added jobs at an annual growth rate of about 0.7 percent from January 2013 to January 2014, which is fairly average growth by local standards but still less than half the pace of employment growth nationally.
The January jobless rate was almost a full percentage point higher than the December unemployment rate of 6.5 percent, but the increase was in line with the jump that typically happens each year as holiday-related jobs come to an end. The local unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted, so economists warn that it can be misleading to compare jobless levels with the previous month because employment levels can vary significantly from one month to the next because of those seasonal factors.
John Slenker, the Labor Department’s regional economist in Buffalo, said he suspects that the cold winter weather may have had a dampening effect on the local job market, potentially delaying some hiring and causing some job seekers to put their employment hunt on hold.
However, the unemployment numbers do confirm that jobless levels have dropped significantly during the past year as the region has continued to add jobs. And since unemployment tends to be highest during January and February, Slenker said he expects the local jobless rate to slowly decline as the year progresses.
“The basics of the economy, to me, are very sound,” Slenker said. “Seeing slow growth in areas with low population growth, like Buffalo, is a good thing.”
Scott Stenclik, the chief executive officer at Acara, a Williamsville employment firm, said he’s seeing more confidence in the job market, both from companies and workers. A growing number of companies, for instance, are using Acara to hire workers directly, rather than on a temporary basis. And the employment firm is seeing more demand for higher-paying jobs, such as positions in the engineering and information technology fields.
“I think we’re starting to recover nicely,” he said. “I think there’s a greater sense of optimism in the local economy.”
January’s jobless rate was almost two full percentage points below the 9.2 percent unemployment rate of January 2013 and was the lowest January unemployment rate since it stood at 6.3 percent in January 2008, before the Great Recession began taking a toll on the local job market.
The local jobless rate during January was higher than the 7 percent U.S. unemployment rate, without adjusting for seasonal factors, and was slightly higher than the statewide rate of 7.3 percent. The jobless rate locally matched the unemployment rate across the 52 counties of upstate New York.
Among the state’s 14 major metro areas, Buffalo Niagara’s unemployment rate was tied for the seventh-lowest, with Albany, Ithaca, Poughkeepsie, Rochester and the suburban New York City regions of Nassau and Suffolk counties and the Putnam-Rockland-Westchester area all having lower jobless rates.
To view the electronic article, click here.