Study gives Buffalo low ranking for job opportunities

Jan 6, 2017

If you’re looking for a job, a popular personal finance website says Buffalo is one of the worst cities to conduct your search.

Wallethub studied nearly two dozen financial metrics in 150 cities across the nation. It lists Buffalo as the fifth worst city for jobs.

Wallethub analyst Jill Gonzalez

Analyst Jill Gonzalez told WBFO job opportunities are far more scarce in Buffalo than in most other cities.

“Just the sheer number of job openings per number of the population in the labor force right now is at around -3% in Buffalo. That’s toward the bottom of the list.”

Among the cities with high scores for job opportunities are Orlando, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh and Atlanta.

The study also found that Buffalo has one of the highest percentages of employed residents who live below the poverty line.

“We don’t just want to look at how many people have jobs,” Gonzalez said. "We want to look at under-employement. We want to look at how many of these people are actually living good lives.”

Wallethub has only been conducting this type of study for two years,. Hence, Gonzalez said it's not possible to use the data to pinpoint long-term trends. For example, In the summer of 2015, state Labor Department data indicated that job growth in the Buffalo Niagara region reached its strongest point in 16 years.

In the Wallethub analysis, Buffalo was assigned low grades  in a number of key categories. A ranking of 1 to 15 would place a city in the top 10%. A ranking of 75 would be average. Here is where the study ranks Buffalo:

  • 95th – Job Opportunities
  • 136th – Percentage of Workforce Living in Poverty
  • 86th – Employment Growth
  • 140th – Median Annual Income (Adjusted by Cost of Living)
  • 130th – Unemployment Rate
  • 83rd – Monthly Median Starting Salary (Adjusted by Cost of Living)

But the study also pinpointed some bright spots for Buffalo. The city is listed in top 20% when it comes to affordable housing – especially when it comes to buying a home. Gonzalez said accessibility is also good.

“When you’re looking at jobs accessible within a 30-minute transit ride, we’re seeing that Buffalo is in the top third.  So it’s certainly not all bad. There’s hope for Buffalo.”

Buffalo is also above average when it comes to industry diversity.

“We’ve seen other economies that have kind of put all their eggs in one basket,” Gonzalez said. “I think Detroit is a good example. You do want that industry variety to keep your town afloat.”