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Obama tours Buffalo for talks with workers

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Steve Chiotakis: President Obama heads to Buffalo, N.Y. today. He’ll take a tour of a small manufacturing plant. The White House is calling it a “conversation with workers on the economy.” Now Buffalo’s seen some hard times, and the city’s trying to bring back some of its lost manufacturing jobs. From WBFO in Buffalo, Mark Scott reports.


Mark Scott: Buffalo is still very much a blue-collar town. Manufacturing survives here at companies like the one President Obama visits today. It makes metal products, including supermarket display cases with a workforce of 60.

Richard Dietz is a Regional Economist with the Federal Reserve. He says the small plant is an example of how manufacturing has changed in Buffalo.

Richard Dietz: Really, the story in manufacturing is that it’s become a higher-skilled workforce. So, a lot of lower and mid-skilled jobs that were more plentiful in the 50s, 60s, 70s and maybe even early 80s have been disappearing.

Dietz says the President will find a city that has weathered the recession better than other areas.

Dietz: Job loss in Buffalo began later than it did in the rest of the country and has been less severe.

That’s because Buffalo didn’t experience a boom and bust in housing. Even the beleaguered automotive industry is rebounding here. Last year, there were fears the local General Motors engine plant would close. But now, GM will add two engine lines at the plant, creating nearly 900 new jobs.

In Buffalo, I’m Mark Scott for Marketplace.

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