ACE Report: Northeast Ohio job growth paces ahead of state

The increase in the number of people employed in Northeast Ohio between April and May — 4,543 jobs — was greater than the employment growth between April 2015 and April 2016, when the region added 3,780 jobs, as tracked by the Ahola Crain’s Employment (ACE) Report.

The accelerating growth in May, an increase of 0.39% in the regional workforce, might not be a one-month blip.

Jack Kleinhenz, the Cleveland Heights economist who created the ACE Report model, said that it “portends an acceleration in regional economic activity.”

Kleinhenz’s analysis showed that the employment growth came, in raw numbers, more from the service sector than the manufacturing sector, since 80% of the region’s jobs are classified as service.

But on a percentage basis, more were created in the goods-producing sector. The region added 3,538 service jobs, a 0.37% increase, and 1,006 goods-producing, or manufacturing jobs, a 0.47% increase.

Strong growth in new manufacturing orders and modest gains in production and exports, Kleinhenz said, helped account for the growth in goods-producing jobs.

Employment growth in Northeast Ohio, the seven-county Cleveland-Akron area, outperformed on a percentage basis the growth in employment statewide.

In Ohio, nonagricultural employment increased 9,200 in May over April, from 5,477,600 to 5,486,800, a 0.17% increase, according to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, compared with Northeast Ohio’s 0.39% increase.

The growth in jobs and the declining unemployment rate — metro Cleveland’s unemployment rate is down to 4.8%, while Akron’s is 4.7% — hides a concern among economists about the declining participation of so-called prime-age men — males ages 25 to 54 — in the workforce.

A study released earlier in June by the White House Council of Economic Advisors found that only 88% of the men in that key age group are either working or looking for work. That’s down dramatically from a peak of 98% in 1954.

The study concludes, not surprisingly, that the demand for the labor of lower-skilled men is an important factor in the decline and reflects changing technology and automation and the globalization of the U.S. economy.

This decline in the prime-age male labor force participation rate, the study found, is particularly troubling since workers at this age are at their most productive.

“(B)ecause of this, the long-run decline has outsized implications for individual well-being as well as for broader economic growth,” the study found. “A large body of evidence has linked joblessness to worse economic prospects in the future, lower overall well-being and happiness, and higher mortality, as well as negative consequences for families and communities.”

The economic advisers recommend increasing investment in public infrastructure, creating construction jobs, would help boost prime-age male labor force participation. It also suggests reforming community colleges and other job-training systems.

Seaonally adjusted

Month Non-Farm Small (1-49) Mid-Sized (50+) Goods-producing Service Producing
Dec (actual) 1,169,198 475,677   693,522 216,446 952,753
Jan (est.) 1,165,273 474,139   691,134 214,872 950,402
Feb (est.) 1,166,961 474,881   692,080 214,395 952,567
Mar (est.) 1,167,019 474,892   692,127 214,583 952,437
Apr (est.) 1,168,968 475,679   693,289 215,034 953,934
May (est.) 1,173,511 477,516   695,996 216,040 957,471
Recent Month’s Estimated Change
Apr ’16 to May ’16 4,543  1,836.96   2,706 1,006 3,538
Diff from May 2015 5,946  2,617   3,329 (1,736) 7,682
3-month 1,169,833  476,029   693,804 215,219 954,614
6-month 1,168,489  475,464   693,025 215,228 953,260