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UAW contract talks will begin soon, First Niagara stay's hot, local hiring increases...

From Business Today:


The United Auto Workers' contracts with General Motors, Chrysler and Ford are due to expire Sept. 14. Contract talks will begin next week. The auto industry is in much better shape than it was two years ago, with all three automakers reported profits in the first quarter. Entering the talks, automakers will be looking to keep costs low while workers will be looking for job security and income. The Buffalo Niagara region has two GM plants and one Ford plant.


 First Niagara Financial Group's profits are up dramatically from last year, following a major acquisition. Profits were up 59 percent, following the Buffalo-based company's purchase of NewAlliance Bancshares. It reported operating earnings of $71.2 million, or 25 cents per share, up from $44.9 million, or 22 cents per share, a year ago.



The Buffalo Niagara region added 7,300 jobs over last year. It's a 1.3 percent annual increase and the strongest growth rate since July 2008. Private sector hiring did even better, adding 9,200 jobs over the last year at a 2.1 percent growth rate. Private sector growth has grown for 15 straight months. The local job growth rate beat both the state and national average growth rates and was the third highest rate in the state behind just Ithaca and Rochester. 


The deadline for underemployed and unemployed New York homeowners to get emergency federal aid from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is midnight tonight. Homeowners can apply for up to $50,000 from the Emergency Homeowners Loan Program. New York State, which has 42,000 homes in foreclosure, has set aside $112 million in funds. To apply, click here. Applicants can also call (855) 346-3345 or e-mail

Stay cool, Buffalo:


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