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Job growth picks up during June

The Buffalo Niagara job market is heating up this summer.

The region added jobs during June at its fastest pace in 10 months, fueled by strong hiring at local stores, construction sites and within the financial services sector, the state Labor Department said Thursday.

The region added 4,900 jobs over the past year, a 0.9 percent annual growth rate that was the strongest since last summer, when job growth averaged nearly 0.9 percent, according to the new data.

The latest data paints a picture of a job market that is slowly improving but is growing much slower than the rest of the country and even parts of downstate New York.

Still, the faster pace of hiring during June was a positive development for a region where job growth has been stubbornly sluggish for most of this year, running at an annual pace of 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent during each of the first five months of the year.

John Slenker, the Labor Department’s regional economist in Buffalo, said the June increase is a sign that the local job market is healthy, especially by local standards, and he thinks the Labor Department data may actually be stronger than the job numbers have shown during the first half of the year. The state’s numbers will be revised next March, once more-comprehensive census data is available.

“This is a really nice growth rate. We can just continue with this,” Slenker said.

Job growth here lags behind the 1.8 percent increase nationally during June. It also trails the 1.4 percent increase in hiring statewide, which is paced largely by more-robust job growth downstate.

During June, most of the Buffalo Niagara region’s job growth came from gains in financial services construction and hiring at local stores, along with rising employment in education and health services.

That offset job losses at local factories and a decline in temporary help positions.

Among the state’s 15 metropolitan areas, the Buffalo Niagara region’s job growth was tied with Nassau-Suffolk counties and Watertown for the sixth-highest.

New York City, Orange-Rockland-Westchester counties, Dutchess-Putnam counties, Kingston and Ithaca had faster job growth, with each topping 1.2 percent over the past year.

Hiring was generally subdued across upstate, with Albany, Binghamton and Glens Falls losing jobs over the past year, and Rochester, Syracuse and Utica growing by 0.4 percent or less.


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