Buffalo Niagara’s middling job gains

To hear Gov. Andrew Cuomo tell it, the Western New York economy is a “national success story.” Indeed, there has been improvement during his six years in office, including the addition of 29,500 jobs and a drop in the unemployment rate.

But while Buffalo Niagara is faring well against its sorry history, the region’s recovery is modest by national standards, an Investigative Post analysis found. Its job growth during the Cuomo years is one-half to one-quarter the national average, depending on which statistics you use. And half the drop in the unemployment rate can be attributed to a shrinking workforce, which reflects a stagnant population base.

E.J. McMahon, research director of the Empire Center for Public Policy, said Buffalo Niagara’s job growth “is not impressive at all … By national standards and compared to similarly sized metropolitan areas, it’s been relatively weak.”

Our coverage continues Friday on WGRZ with a report on the type of jobs being created during this Cuomo recovery. Three-quarters of them are in sectors that pay low wages, lead by restaurants and bars.

The package of stories piggyback off a series published in March by Investigative Post done in collaboration with ProPublica and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. That series showed that job growth upstate under Cuomo is one-quarter the national average, despite massive government subsidies.