The Buffalo Niagara jobless rate hasn't been this low in decades, even though the region's recovery from the Covid recession has been among the nation's weakest.
How is that possible? It's really a combination of factors, but mostly, it's because workers are in short supply at a time when employers still are looking to hire.
Over the past decade, the region has lost nearly 16,000 workers – a 2.8% decline. It's not just the pandemic, either. While many older workers retired early during the pandemic, the region's sluggish population growth and its older demographics over the past two decades have contributed to a steady decline in available workers.
That's forced local employers to scramble to find qualified workers, which has steadily cut into the number of people who are looking for a job but can't find one. The region has just a bit more than a third as many unemployed people as it did a decade ago.
People are also reading…
At the same time, the scarcity of workers has allowed more people to hold jobs, as employers have become more willing to train employees who lack skills that previously were mandated. The number of people holding jobs now surpasses pre-Covid levels.