Reviving a City of Workers

August 27, 2019

A Story of Economic Revitalization

For a significant portion of the 20th Century, Buffalo’s middle class was sustained by companies like Buffalo Forge, Curtiss-Wright, Bethlehem Steel, Republic Steel, the American Ship Building Company, and Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Buffalo was a titan of industry, providing grain, steel, and motors to America and the world.

As the 20th Century drew to a close, Buffalo, in common with other Manufacturing Belt cities, experienced a massive economic decline as the result of American deindustrialization. As the manufacturing base which supported the region’s economy began to shrink, joblessness soared. By 2005, as the Partnership for The Public Good noted, “the City of Buffalo had a poverty rate nearly double the U.S. average.”

By June 2019, the city of Buffalo had reduced their unemployment rate by half  to 3.7%. They accomplished a 50% reduction in unemployment in less than a decade.

Our President & CEO, Gary A. Officer, recently visited Buffalo. Read his analysis and reflections on how Buffalo is successfully revitalizing its economy and the role of older workers in that revitalization.

This is the second in our series examining why some cities continuing to decline while others are thriving and actively preparing for the future of work.

Read the Case Study: Reviving a City of Workers

And, don’t miss the first piece in this series where we analyzed the path taken by two iconic U.S. cities.

Cleveland is an iconic “Rust Belt” city—often portrayed as a once-mighty city now in terminal decline—whereas Charlotte is an icon of the “New South”—typically held out as an example of robust urban growth and success—and yet a comparison is useful in understanding the impact of workforce development on economic success.

Read the Case Study: Two Cities, Two Paths

President & CEO