Niagara Falls December jobless rate soars over 8%

Highest Unemployment in New York State

While the United States has officially been at “full employment” for several months, as a nearly decade-long economic expansion continues, the situation here in Niagara Falls is bad and getting worse, according to figures released last week by the NYS Department of Labor.

Niagara Falls’ unemployment rate for 2017 came in at 7.7%, the highest of any city in the entire state for the fourth year in a row, more than three full percentage points higher than New York State (4.6%).

U.S. unemployment for the month of December was 4.1%. The city of Niagara Falls more than doubled that, with an 8.7% jobless rate in December.

The only media outlet in all of Western New York to report to you these abysmal employment numbers for the city of Niagara Falls is the Reporter. For some unknown reason, the remarkable fact that this world-famous city, featuring one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, has the highest rate of unemployment of any city in the state is a topic no other newspaper, or radio or TV station, thinks worthy of coverage, or even mention.

Additionally, as state unemployment decreased from 4.6% to 4.5% to 4.4% over October, November and December, 2017 respectively, Niagara Falls unemployment increased from 7.1% to 8.0% to 8.7% over the same three months.

Strikingly, six months ago we correctly predicted that Niagara Falls unemployment would rise in 2017, simultaneous with better job numbers for the rest of the state. Dyster administration policies, combined with Albany’s exploitation of our tourism resources, have resulted in the misery of joblessness here, the highest in New York State.

We predicted back on August 18 (“Unemployment, Crime, Poverty, Taxes, Potholes, Credit Downgrades afflict City of Niagara Falls”) that:

“… the rate for Niagara Falls will actually increase this year by 0.3%, from 7.2% in 2016 to 7.5% (2017), simultaneous with the rate for New York State dropping from 4.8% in 2016 to 4.5% this year.

“In other words, hiring across New York State will improve in 2017, everywhere except the city of Niagara Falls, where it will be worse than it already is.”

In that August article, we described the methodology we used to arrive at such a surprisingly accurate prediction. As it turned out, the disparity between the state and local unemployment rates was even bigger than we projected.

So why does Niagara Falls have the highest rate of unemployment of any city in the entire state, despite eight million tourists coming here to visit every year?

The answer is obvious.

Instead of parking downtown and patronizing local small businesses like restaurants, taverns and various retail establishments, the eight million visitors who come here every year access the state-owned and operated Niagara Falls State Park from two directions on a dedicated parkway, with signage steering them into the park instead of the city.

They park on one of 1,500 parking spaces, get wet at Cave of the Winds and ride Maid of the Mist, dine on burgers, fries and Cokes at Delaware North’s Top of the Falls restaurant, snack pavilion and food stands, purchase souvenirs at one of two gift shops, and then exit the park and leave the area with little need or reason to enter or spend money in the city of Niagara Falls.

Eight million tourists a year, highest unemployment rate… When it comes to our so-called government leaders, what’s the disconnect here?

Our oblivious local politicians, as if they are inhabiting some parallel universe, keep themselves busy bickering and fighting over how best to nickel and dime our way to prosperity as the city approaches bankruptcy and a date with the control board.

In other news, Mayor Dyster and his hirelings concoct a new ZOOM program strategy, because he wants you to think that the high unemployment (and the crime and poverty too, for that matter) is all your fault, because you’re not doing a good enough job keeping your yard tidy and your lawn trimmed.

Jan. 1 was the tenth year anniversary of Paul Dyster acceding to the mayoralty. With a spot unemployment rate of 8.7% for December, the highest of any city in the state, at what point do the voters of Niagara Falls decide that the slogan “The Buck Stops Here” applies with respect to the failed policies of the Dyster administration?

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