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Jobless rate in Buffalo Niagara holds steady at 7.7% during July

Unemployment in the Buffalo Niagara region held steady at 7.7 percent during July.

It's the lowest unemployment rate for that month since 2008, when unemployment was 5.8 percent, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

The region is maintaining a slightly lower unemployment rate than the statewide rate of 8 percent and the seasonally unadjusted national rate of 9.3 percent.

"The Buffalo Niagara area had a bigger drop in unemployment than the state," said Kevin Jack, New York State labor market analyst.

He described the region's employment statistics compared with July of last year as a triple play, since the number of unemployed people decreased from 49,000 in July 2010 to 44,800 this year, and the number of employed people increased from 534,900 in July 2010 to 535,500 this July. As a result, unemployment has dropped from 8.4 percent a year ago.

There were 9,900 more jobs in July than a year ago, including 8,000 in the private sector. It marked the 16th consecutive month of private-sector job growth. There were 542,400 jobs in the region in July.

However, the region is still down about 8,700 jobs from July 2008 -- just before the recession hit local employment.

Buffalo and Niagara Falls also didn't see changes in their unemployment levels for July, staying at 10.2 and 9.5 percent, respectively. The two cities did improve from a year ago, when Buffalo had 10.7 percent unemployment and Niagara Falls had 11.2 percent unemployment.

Niagara County unemployment was down nearly from 8.9 percent in July 2010 to 8 percent last month. Unemployment was 7.7 percent there in June.

The only part of the region to show unemployment improvements month over month was Erie County, where unemployment decreased from 7.7 to 7.6 percent. Unemployment for the county was 8.3 percent in July 2010.

email: mtighe@buffnews.com