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Local job market heats up in August

The Buffalo Niagara job market heated up during August.

The region added jobs at a 1.4 percent annual pace last month – a rate that was more than twice as fast as the increase in hiring during the first seven months of this year, the state Labor Department said Thursday.

The August job data, which is based on a more timely but more volatile review of unemployment claims data, is more in tune with the more robust rate of job growth that a more comprehensive but less timely survey based on Census data has found.

Much of the August job growth came from strong seasonal hiring at local bars and restaurants, as well as at stores, the Labor Department said. Hiring also was robust in construction, along with education and health services.

Those gains offset continuing weakness in manufacturing and a category that includes temporary help. Government employment also was down slightly, mainly at the federal level.

In all, the Buffalo Niagara region added 7,700 jobs from August 2015 to August 2016. That 1.4 percent annual growth rate was slower than the 1.9 percent increase in hiring nationwide and just below the 1.5 percent gain in employment across New York.

The August job growth was the most robust increase in hiring that the region has experienced during any month this year. Job growth had averaged about 0.6 percent through July, according to the Labor Department data.

But for most of the past year, that data presented a more downbeat picture of the local job market than another, more comprehensive survey based on Census data. That data, which only runs through March, indicated that job growth locally during that three-month period averaged about 1.3 percent – more than three times faster than the increase reported by the Labor Department during that same time. Local economists said they believe the Labor Department statistics will be revised upward next spring to a level that is closer to the Census data.

The Labor Department data pegged Buffalo’s 1.4 percent job growth as the third-fastest in upstate New York and the sixth-highest among the 15 biggest metro areas in the state. Most of the state’s job growth was centered downstate, with hiring running faster than it is in Buffalo in New York City, Kingston, Ithaca, Watertown and Duchess-Putnam counties.

email: drobinson@buffnews.com

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