ACE Report: ‘Tightening’ NEO job market loses 2,505 jobs last month

The Cleveland-Akron area lost 2,505 jobs last month, a 0.21% decline from April, according to the Ahola Crain’s Employment Report, or ACE Report.

The report estimates that the seven-county Northeast Ohio region employed 1,174,540 people in May, down from 1,177,045 in April.

The report is based on payroll data from 3,000 employers, gathered by The Ahola Corp., a Brecksville payroll and human services firm.

Cleveland Heights economist Jack Kleinhenz, who developed the ACE Report economic model, said the decline in the May seven-county employment estimate, “while perhaps a bit discouraging, can be an indication that labor markets are tightening.”

He cited a National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) jobs report from May that found business owners are upbeat about sales and are looking to add staff, but that firms say it’s hard to find qualified workers.

Kleinhenz said two factors are key to the shrinking labor pool.

Northeast Ohio’s unemployment rate fell to 5.1% in April from 6.2% in March, according to data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. That translates into a decline in the jobless of 14,200 people, from 85,900 to 71,700. At the same time, baby boomers are retiring.

To Kleinhenz that suggests that “there are not enough people out of work to go back to work.”

Also, Kleinhenz sees a longer-term upward trend, with regional employment growing by 2,647 in the 12-month period ending in May, though that gain was accomplished by five up months overcoming seven months of job declines. By comparison, national employment has registered 80 straight months of increase.

The greatest loss in jobs came in the goods-producing sector, which includes manufacturing and construction, a loss of 1,655 jobs versus the loss of 850 service sector jobs. That correlates, Kleinhenz said, to recent U.S. Census figures showing that factory orders declined 0.2% in May.

Manufacturing production was down 0.4%, Kleinhenz said, including a 2% decline in motor vehicle output.

“I continue to expect a pickup in the pace of economic activity in the second quarter and modest growth for the remainder of 2017,” Kleinhenz said. “The second-quarter 2017 National Association for Business Economics outlook median forecast calls for average annual GDP growth of 2.2% for 2017 as a whole.”

Seasonally adjusted data

Month Non-Farm Small (1-49) Mid-Sized (50+) Goods-producing Service Producing
Dec 2016 1,169,560   476,230   693,330   210,690 958,870
January 1,173,253   477,635   695,618   212,773 960,480
February 1,175,747   478,633   697,113   213,467 962,280
March 1,175,054   478,338   696,715   213,524 961,530
April 1,177,045   479,227   697,818   212,773 964,273
May 1,174,540   478,291   963,423   963,423 963,423
 June 16, 2017

ACE Report: April job numbers spring forward

Northeast Ohio gained 1,874 private-sector jobs in April, part of an uptick in the regional labor market that has seen employment grow by an estimated 3,431 jobs over the last 12 months, as tracked by the Ahola Crain’s Employment Report.

Jack Kleinhenz, the Cleveland Heights economist who created the ACE Report model, said the seasonally adjusted employment numbers suggest some optimism about a rebound in manufacturing employment, which has suffered in recent months.

The 0.12% increase in private-sector employment seen in the ACE analysis is comparable to an increase in the April ADP National Employment Report, which saw a modest increase nationally of 156,000 jobs from March to April. However, manufacturing employment declined nationally, according to the ADP report, while Northeast Ohio manufacturing employment in the seven county Cleveland-Akron area grew by 0.36%.

Longer term, according to the ACE analysis, manufacturing employment gained 1,580 jobs since April 2015, a 0.66% gain. Kleinhenz is optimistic that trend will continue.

“Manufacturing has been in a significant swoon that dates back to late 2014,” he said. “However, based on this month’s estimates, manufacturing employment is headed for at least a temporary improvement in the months ahead.”

Both the ACE and ADP data are derived from payroll data of client companies served, nationally by ADP LLC and regionally by The Ahola Corp., a Brecksville payroll and human services firm.

The economists at PNC Financial Services Group Inc., report in their second-quarter Northeast Ohio Market Outlook that manufacturing employment in its Northeast Ohio service area, which includes the Canton and Youngstown metropolitan areas in addition to Cleveland and Akron, would have been stronger had it not been for layoffs in metals production and the energy industry.

Those layoffs were due to competition from steel imports and the sharp decline in energy prices, which has reduced investment in oil and gas drilling in the region.

Looking back to before the recession, however, is a reminder that the region has shed thousands of jobs.

According to data compiled by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, the Cleveland and Akron metros have lost 62,400 jobs since employment peaked in 2006, before the recession.

The state agency’s data shows that regional employment averaged 1,398,600 during 2006 but has dropped, as of April, to 1,336,200.

Broken down, the Cleveland area has lost 47,000 workers since 2006, while Akron has lost 18,400 jobs.


Month Non-Farm Small (1-49) Mid-Sized (50+) Goods-producing Service Producing
Sept (Actual) 1,164,804    473,914  690,890 215,278 949,526
Oct (est.) 1,164,798    473,762  691,036 217,419 947,379
Nov (est.) 1,161,764    472,667  689,097 214,861 946,903
Dec (est.) 1,164,131    473,645  690,486 215,080 949,051
Jan (est.) 1,163,766    473,498  690,268 214,997 948,769
Feb (est.) 1,165,793    474,378  691,415 214,576 951,217
Mar (est.) 1,165,950    474,430  691,519 214,767 951,183
Apr (est.) 1,167,824    475,197  692,628 215,062 952,762

May 27, 2016

By Jay Miller