By: Marcos Lebron
The Buffalo Niagara region is in the midst of its strongest hiring boom in 15 years, fueled, in part, by the region’s construction boom. Yet Blacks and Hispanics unemployment surpass national average.
According to The US Labor Department Black unemployment in Buffalo was 11.3 percent. While, for Hispanics 8.9 percent
While hiring in the Buffalo area was strong during May. In fact, it was the strongest month for job growth since July 1999, and the second strongest in the last quarter-century.
The Buffalo Niagara region added 13,000 jobs over the past year, according to new data released Thursday by the state Labor Department. That put job growth during May at a 2.3 percent annual pace – the strongest since a 2.9 percent annual gain in July 1999 and just the fourth time in the last 25 years that any month has had an annual growth rate of as much as 2 percent.
“This is an extremely robust recovery,” said John Slenker, the Labor Department’s regional economist in Buffalo. “It seems like it’s picking up steam now, However, Blacks and Hispanics have not faired well.”.
Job growth locally now has averaged 1.6 percent during the first five months of this year, more than double the 0.7 percent increase in jobs the region experienced during all of 2014. If that pace continues through the rest of the year, 2015 would be the strongest year for job growth in the Buffalo Niagara region since 1999.
Almost a quarter of the job growth came from the construction industry, which is thriving with seasonal roadwork and big construction projects underway at SolarCity, HarborCenter and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
“We’re getting into the phases that are much more labor intensive on some of the big construction projects,” Slenker said.
The local job growth, while strong by local standards, is fairly average on a nationwide scale. The U.S. added jobs at a 2.2 percent pace during May, only slightly slower than the job growth locally last month
One of the few negatives in the jobs report was a slight downward revision in April’s job growth, which was reduced to 1.3 percent from the 1.4 percent that the Labor Department reported last month. The revision is based on more complete data from local unemployment reports.