This is the latest installment in our multi-part, year-long #SiliconCitiesUSA Series
What Is #SiliconCitiesUSA?
Over the course of this year, we’re exploring how entrepreneurs and businesses are faring in non-major U.S. cities, beginning with Des Moines, Iowa. This month’s featured city is Buffalo, New York. We’re reporting on the ground from each city, talking with elected officials and business leaders about how they’re harnessing their unique resources and local talent to fuel economic growth and better compete against more established urban centers like San Francisco and New York City.
When it comes to New York, New York City and its 8.5 million residents get a lot of the attention. But if you travel just a bit north, about 400 miles or so, you’ll find another city that is just as worthy of praise: Buffalo.
Situated on the eastern shore of Lake Erie, Buffalo has faced its share of ups and downs over the past half-century. While it has always had to deal with its pesky, attention-grabbing neighbor to the south, the city has increasingly asserted itself as an economic player in its own right, attracting businesses and reigniting growth in an area that was once characterized by the decline of its manufacturing sector.
That Buffalo has managed to stoke such impressive economic growth over the past few years is particularly impressive, given how incongruously it was affected by the recent recession. Yet the city and its metropolitan area have roared back, with employers steadily adding jobs: According to the New York State Department of Labor, since peaking at 9.7% in January 2010, the Buffalo metropolitan area’s unemployment rate has fallen to 5.3%—lower than the state’s 5.7% overall unemployment rate.
What’s behind this economic and civic comeback? These are just two of the questions we’ll be looking to answer over the course of this month, as we dive headfirst into Buffalo and all its people, government, and businesses have to offer.