(From Buffalo News)
The Buffalo Niagara job market is heating up with the weather.
The region added jobs during June at the fastest annual rate in almost three years, as the warm weather led to a big jump in construction work, the state Labor Department said Thursday.
The two-county region added 7,300 jobs over the last year – a 1.3 percent annual increase that was double the growth rate in May and the strongest since July 2008, just before the recession began hammering the local job market.
Hiring by private sector firms was even stronger, growing at a 2.1 percent annual rate, as those companies added 9,200 jobs over the last year.
The June increase was the 10th
consecutive month of job growth for the Buffalo Niagara region and a sign that the local job market’s rebound could be accelerating. The private sector, which excludes government agencies, has grown for 15 straight months.
The June job growth locally was more than twice as strong as the 0.6 percent increase statewide and better than the 0.9 percent increase nationally. And, for the second straight month, job creation in the Buffalo Niagara region was stronger than it was in most of the state’s other metropolitan areas, trailing only Ithaca and Rochester.
The Labor Department also said job growth locally was even stronger than initially reported during May. It revised its May job data to reflect the addition of 3,300 jobs from May 2010 to May 2011, a 0.6 percent annual increase that was better than the original estimate of 2,200 new jobs.
Almost a third of the overall job growth during June came from a surge in hiring for construction projects, which had been depressed for the last two years but rebounded to a 10- year high during June. The number of construction jobs jumped by nearly 12 percent, compared with the more than 20-year low that was set last June, and was the highest for any month since July 2008.
Other pockets of the private sector also showed strength. Retail jobs have grown by nearly 4 percent over the last year, while hiring at leisure and hospitality firms is up almost 3 percent, and professional and business services have grown by 2.6 percent.
That stronger growth offset a continued decline in government jobs, which fell by 1,900, or 2 percent. Much of the decline was because last year’s totals were inflated by a surge in hiring by the federal government for temporary Census jobs. State government jobs fell, but that drop was offset by increased hiring by local government.
Still, the region has a long way to go to recover all of the jobs it lost during the recession. Even with the June hiring surge, the Buffalo Niagara region still has almost 10,000 fewer jobs than it did in June 2008. But if the current rate of job growth continues, it would only take about 1z more years to recover all of the jobs that were lost during the recession.
The pace of job growth was far weaker in rural portions of Western New York, where Allegany County fared the best with a stable job count over the last year. Wyoming County fared the worst, losing 2.9 percent of its jobs over the last year, while the decline hit 1.1 percent in Chautauqua County. Genesee County lost jobs at a 0.8 percent annual rate, while the decline was 0.6 percent in Cattaraugus County.