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Spotlight/employment: Few job cuts as worries grow about economy

Layoffs have slowed to a trickle across the Buffalo Niagara region this year – and there’s little evidence that employers are starting to cut jobs amid fears that the economy is slowing.

First-time jobless claims, which provide one of the earliest glimpses at changes in the job market, ticked up briefly in early July, but have since fallen back to the low levels that have been the norm for most of this year.

The four-week moving average of initial jobless claims, which smooths out some of the volatility in the weekly numbers, also is lower than it was during the four months leading up to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Together, the jobless claims data indicate that local employers aren’t cutting back, despite rising interest rates and growing concerns about a broader economic slowdown.

Some local economists think the tight labor market – and the difficulty employers have had filling open positions for much of this year and last – will make them hesitant to trim jobs if business turns down.

Another factor: Many businesses already are running short-staffed, so they may not have extra workers to lay off if sales start to sag, said Julie Anna Golebiewski, a Canisius College economist.

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