Manufacturing Is Still Buffalo’s Business

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Written by: Steve Melito, Industry Blog Writer for FuzeHub

SolarCity’s RiverBend Site
Image Credit: The Buffalo News

Is manufacturing still strong in western New York? According to Buffalo Business First, U.S. government statistics show that the two-county Buffalo metropolitan area ranks 14th for manufacturing employment among the nation’s 51 major metros. In the Buffalo-Niagara Falls region today, nearly 12% of all civilian jobs are in the manufacturing sector. Compare that to Detroit, the national leader at just over 18%.
To be sure, manufacturing in upstate New York has declined since its heyday in the 1940s. As The Economist magazine reported in 2012, however, Bruce Katz of The Brooking Institute is “bullish” on Buffalo – and that was before projects such as the Buffalo Billion Initiative were announced. Katz, the founding director of the Brooking Metropolitan Policy Program, is especially excited about prospects for advanced manufacturing.
Innovation and “exports powered by low carbon” also provide important opportunities, according to the co-author of The Metropolitan Revolution. SolarCity’s September announcement about plans to build a factory on the old Republic Steel site in South Buffalo proves Katz’s point. According to The Buffalo News, the solar panel factory could bring 3,000 jobs to the Buffalo area, starting as early as 2016.
For a city that was once the nation’s eighth largest, SolarCity’s announcement is welcome news. By creating more manufacturing jobs than Republic Steel had at its height, the planned Riverbend facility is “bigger than anything we could have imagined,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The solar panel factory will also help create more than 2,000 jobs across New York State for workers selling and installing solar systems.
Read original story: New stats indicate that manufacturing remains a key component of local economy


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