A life-long Buffalo Bills fan, I’m thrilled with their current stand atop the AFC East. The Bills 3-0 start certainly has national media outlets discussing Buffalo’s early season success.
However, I was again disappointed by Buffalo’s portrayal by our national media. During this past Sunday’s Football Night in America broadcast, NBC Sports’ Bob Costas proclaimed “Buffalo …among the cities hit hardest by the nation’s economic downturn.” Bob Costas may know sports, but he apparently doesn’t know the real story behind Buffalo and our economy. If he did, he would know that our local economy has fared better than most during the downturn, and continues to outpace the nation in several economic indicators.
The Buffalo Niagara region has experienced seventeen consecutive months of private sector job growth! Our economy, the nation’s 54th largest at $45.1 billion, grew over 3.0% in 2010, outpacing the national metro average of 2.5%. Our region’s unemployment rate, currently 7.25%, is dramatically lower than the national unemployment rate of 9.10% thanks to the aforementioned robust job growth in the private sector.
Our housing market remains strong; median home prices have appreciated 15% since 2008. Nationally, home prices have fallen over 11% in the same time period. The local foreclosure rate of 0.3%, is well below the national average of 2.23%, and 88.1 percent of our population can afford the median home price in our region putting us in the top three on the home affordability index of comparable metros. This is just a sampling of the facts and statistics Mr. Costas could have cited.
Despite recent struggles our Buffalo Bills are in first place! And despite significant headwinds in the national and global economies, Buffalo Niagara continues to move in the right direction. With the Sabres dropping the puck in a few short weeks, it’s a great time to be in Buffalo Niagara!
Tom Kucharski, President & CEO, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise