Show me the numbers: the progress of Buffalo Niagara

I am a big fan of data and metrics.

Despite Mark Twain’s adage that “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics,” I find myself more into the Jerry Maguire category: “Show me the money!” or more aptly, “Show me the numbers!”

I’ve written about the energy we’re all feeling in the region’s renaissance, and now I want to share with you some of the numbers that show the trends are moving in the right direction.

Last month, performance measures from the “Strategy for Prosperity” (AKA the Buffalo Billion plan) were compiled by the UB Regional Institute and released by Empire State Development.

The report’s intent is to show how much progress we have made since the plan was released. Looking over the past two years, we see some good progress.

econ slide jobsFor example, the number of jobs in Western New York between 2011 and 2013 increased by 3,773.

But what’s really important is that the trend line is pending in the positive direction after many years of decline.

Similarly, total wages have increased by $987,000,000, up 4 percent. We haven’t paced at the state’s average of 5.1 percent, but we still see the numbers moving in the right direction.

The total number of firms operating in Western New York increased by 812, that’s a 13.3 percent change since 2011.

The number of firms trend line has been relatively flat since 2000 and this uptick is significant and hopefully bodes well for future.

econ slides firmsOther notable numbers include:

  • academic research and development (R&D) spending is up by 1.4 percent – (an entrepreneurship indicator)
  • the rate of students completing high school is up 1.8 percent
  • visitor spending is up 4.7 percent
  • the regional population of people between the ages of 20 and 34 is up 3.8 percent in the past two years

Not all of the numbers are positive – but in total, these incrementally positive changes mean we’re on the right track to reinventing our economy.

You can take a look at the PowerPoint here and if you have time, I would encourage you to read the full plan.

I commend all of those involved and the hundreds of volunteers that are staying engaged in this important effort to improve our region’s economy.

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About Dottie Gallagher

President & CEO