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Regional economist describes state of Buffalo economy for the President's visit

Federal Reserve Economist Richard Deitz
Federal Reserve Economist Richard Deitz

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Barack Obama is making his first trip to Buffalo as president Thursday. He'll visit a small manufacturing plant on the city's East Side.

The company, Industrial Support, makes metal products such as supermarket display cases. It employs about 60 workers. Federal Reserve Regional Economist Richard Deitz says the small plant is an example of how manufacturing has changed in Buffalo.

"Job loss in Buffalo began later than it did in the rest of the country and was less severe," Deitz said. "That's because much of the country was suffering from losses related to the housing market. Buffalo and the rest of upstate did not experience the same kind of boom and bust in the housing market as elsewhere."

The University at Buffalo says Mr. Obama's visit here underscores the success of his administration's major investment in scientific research at UB. Since the enactment of the economic stimulus package last year, UB officials say the university has received 86 federal research awards totaling nearly $31 million.

"The sizable investment in UB research, and the resulting job and knowledge creation, demonstrate the success and great potential of the Recovery Act," says Jorge Jos , UB vice president for research. "Much of this research will lay the foundation for Western New York's economic future and will improve quality of life in our region. It has the potential to spin off new industries, businesses and jobs."

Even the beleaguered automotive industry is rebounding here. Last year, there were fears the Tonawanda engine plant would close. But now, General Motors is adding two engine lines at the plant, creating hundreds of new jobs.

The public radio program, "Marketplace," commissioned a piece from WBFO's Mark Scott that aired nationwide Thursday morning. Click the audio player above to hear it now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.