Are plant closings a sign of an economic downturn in WNY?

Local News

More job losses in Western New York are leading to questions about the health of the local economy.

Just this week, New England Motor Freight (NEMF) announced it voluntarily filed for bankruptcy protection. The company has a facility in Tonawanda.

“I just wish that things could’ve changed and been different and hopefully could have still been opened and still functioning,” said Jesse Folckmer, a driver for NEMF.

“It was a little unfair, but I don’t know all the ins and outs to it so, all I know it that my jobs about to come to a close,” said Alexander Weiser, an employee for NEMF.

The closing of NEMF is just the latest blow to the area. New Era will close its plant in Derby next month. Thomson Linear Motion in Amherst is also expected to close, according to the Buffalo News. More than a hundred jobs would be eliminated.

Fred Floss, an economics professor at Buffalo State College says despite recent closings, job loss in WNY isn’t as bad as it looks.

“Buffalo is still growing in employment and growing faster than the rest of New York State and the United States as a whole,” said Floss.

Floss told News 4, Buffalo added 7,500 jobs last year. He claims that should give WNY an edge as, he believes, a recession looms.

“We’re moving into an era where the United States is probably going to go into a recession, if not this year, maybe next year.”

Floss says as the country heads into another decline, people should try to gain new skills. The jobs being added are skilled jobs while the non-skilled jobs, such as hospitality and retail are fading.

“Whether that means going to an Erie County Community College and looking for a certificate program or going back to college or to college for the first time or looking to go into an apprenticeship program, because that’s where the jobs are growing,” said Floss.

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