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Buffalo Niagara saw modest job growth in November

The Buffalo Niagara region's slow but steady job growth continued into November.

The region added jobs at a 0.7 percent annual pace during November  less than half the national growth rate  as  a seasonal surge in holiday hiring at stores and strong employment growth at local hotels and restaurants were tempered by cutbacks at local factories, the state Labor Department said Thursday.

The region added 3,700 jobs from November 2015 to November 2016, leaving the area with more jobs than it has had during any November since 2000. The November increase continued a year-long stretch of modest hiring that has been fairly average by local standards, but far slower than the pace of job growth across the country.

Excluding government jobs, Buffalo's private-sector job growth averaged 0.8 percent over the past year.

"As long as we're going positive, we're headed in the right direction," said John Slenker, the Labor Department's regional economist in Buffalo. "We can sustain this for a long time."

The Labor Department also revised its October job estimate downward, saying the region added 1,200 fewer jobs than it reported last month. New estimates, based on more extensive unemployment claims filings from employers, pegged October's job growth at 4,000 jobs, or a 0.7 percent annualized increase.

The October and November job data is based on a more timely but often more volatile review of unemployment claims data. A separate set of job statistics, based on a broader set of Census data, has shown that the region's job growth was stronger than the Labor Department numbers indicated late last year and through the first half of this year, but those figures have not been updated beyond June.

Those figures, however, peg local job growth at about 1.1 percent through the first half of this year, which is roughly twice as strong as the Labor Department data showed for that same time.

The November job growth, however, was less than half of the 1.6 percent increase in hiring nationwide and also lagged behind the 1.1 percent gain in employment across New York.

With the exception of a spike in hiring in Ithaca, where job growth topped 3 percent during November, most of the state's  hiring last month was centered downstate. New York City, Long Island and the Orange-Rockland-Westchester county region both added jobs at an annualized pace between 1 percent and 1.5 percent.

Buffalo's job growth ranked 7th among the state's 15 biggest metro areas, the Labor Department reported. Binghamton, Syracuse and Utica all lost jobs over the past 12 months.

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