BUFFALO, N.Y. – A new report on U.S. job numbers says unemployment rates have gone down nationally since last year, but in New York State, joblessness has stayed stagnant from 2016 to 2017.

The unemployment rate also remains higher: The national average is 4.2 percent, and New York’s unemployment rate is 4.9 percent.

In Western New York, six out of the region's eight counties have unemployment rates even higher than that. Allegany County has the worst unemployment rate in the region at 6.0 percent.

Even though campaign trail candidates tout job creation year after year, there's no denying advanced technology, like automation, is affecting jobs.

Channel 2 asked two elected leaders to weigh in on why the state’s rate and Western New York’s rate continue to lag behind the rest of the country.

"In terms of automation, the best thing we can do to combat that is skills and education,” said Senator Chris Jacobs, R-60th.

According to the New York State Department of Labor, educational and health services in the private sector, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality have seen the most job growth in the past year.
Oppositely, manufacturing showed the most job loss from 2016 to 2017.

Nationally, there's job growth in tech and STEM fields.

"People and the marketplace need to adapt to the new technology of the day,” said Erie County legislator Peter Savage. “And I think standing here, outside of a library in North Buffalo, is a perfect example of the opportunities that education and training can provide in terms of providing future job employment opportunities.”

Savage also thinks retail will stay afloat in Buffalo because of Western New York’s shop local mentality and walkable neighborhoods with commerce.

With baby boomers retiring, there are more opportunities in trades like welding, machinery, and the kind of carpentry that requires skilled technicians.

"It doesn't mean you have to get a BA or a Ph.D. to be in the STEM field. You can also be in STEM field being a technician an electrician and things like that, that pay very, very well that will not be outsourced or automated fully,” Jacobs said.

Looking toward the future, staying up to date with technology will be one of the best ways to keep yourself relevant in whatever field you work in.

"The day of somebody just going to a job, and staying in the same place doing the same job for 30-40 years is over,” Jacobs said.