ACE Report: Regional Job Market Closes 2015 on a High Note

The job market in the seven-county Cleveland-Akron metropolitan area closed 2015 with a relatively strong performance, adding 2,350 jobs from November on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The latest Ahola Crain’s Employment (ACE) Report projects that the region’s private sector grew to 1,162,540 jobs in December from 1,160,190 in November, an increase of 0.2%. Compared with December 2014, the Northeast Ohio workforce also is in positive territory, as it has posted a modest gain of 2,438 jobs since then.

Local economist Jack Kleinhenz, who compiles the ACE Report data, wrote in an analysis accompanying the December report that the month’s non-seasonally adjusted estimate of 1,171,636 jobs “is ahead of the 3-month and 6-month averages, which indicates further economic activity and job growth.”

But Kleinhenz offered a caveat, noting, “In looking forward, however, it is typical for the trajectory of monthly employment in the region in the early months of the year to be pared significantly back. Seasonal adjustment of this series masks that fact. …

“We expect a similar pattern to take place and recognize that some dampening of the pace of employment gains is projected,” he wrote. “This near-term development is not surprising in that the manufacturing sector has been battered and bruised.”

The not-bad, not-great nature of the December ACE Report is consistent with the state of Ohio’s jobs report for the month, which found unemployment rose to 4.7% from 4.5% in November.

Nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 15,200 over the month, to 5,451,500 in December from a revised 5,436,300 in November, according to data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

However, the number of workers unemployed in Ohio in December was 269,000, up from 255,000 in November.

On balance, through, the state is better off than it was a year ago, as the number of unemployed has decreased by 23,000 in the past 12 months from 292,000. In December 2014, Ohio’s unemployment rate was 5.1%

Crain’s partners with The Ahola Corp., a payroll and human resources services company in Brecksville, and Kleinhenz for the ACE Report to provide monthly data about the size of Northeast Ohio’s workforce.

Seasonally Adjusted Data

Month Non-Farm Small (1-49) Mid-Sized (50+) Goods-producing Service Producing
June(Actual) 1,163,941   473,458   690,483   216,623   947,318
July(est.) 1,157,178   470,669   686,508   215,899   941,279
Aug(est.) 1,157,981   471,009   686,973   215,870   942,111
Sept(est.) 1,158,628   471,285   687,343   215,797   942,831
Oct(est) 1,161,187   472,346   688,841   215,991   945,195
Nov(est.) 1,160,190   472,052   688,138   214,203   945,987
Dec(est.) 1,162,540   473,031   689,509   214,310   948,229
Recent Month’s Estimated Change
Nov ’15 to Dec ’15 2,350   978.92   1,371   107   2,243
Diff from Dec 2014 2,438   1,221   1,217   (2,831)   5,269
3-month 1,161,305   472,476   688,829   214,835   946,470
6-month 944,272   944,272   944,272   944,272   944,272

By Scott Suttell

January 29, 2016

ACE Report: Northeast Ohio Has First Job Drop Since July

Employment in the seven-county Cleveland-Akron metropolitan area is being projected to dip ever-so-slightly in November. The estimated decline — 1,400 jobs or 0.1% of the employment in an economy of nearly 1.2 million jobs — reflects an annual slowdown in the manufacturing, or goods-producing, sector, according to the latest Ahola Crain’s Employment (ACE) Report.

The decline is the first drop since July and reflects an estimated increase of 834 jobs in service employment that is offset by a loss of 2,233 jobs in goods-related businesses.

Year-over-year, though, employment is up, according to the ACE numbers, with a modest gain of 5,427 since November 2014, a 0.58% seasonally adjusted increase.

“The region in recent history registers softer employment gains for the goods-related sector, typically in the later months of the year, and we are not overly concerned about the contractionary reading (for November) as the region remains in expansion territory,” said economist Jack Kleinhenz, who compiles the ACE data.

“The recent trend of performance is indicating further economic activity and job growth, but perhaps at a slower pace,” Kleinhenz said.

The regional economy continues to lag the national economy. Private employment nationally rose by 2.1% over the last 12 months, according to current employment data compiled by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The two sub-metro areas in the region are performing similarly, though Cleveland is doing narrowly better than the Akron metropolitan area.

Estimates by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS), which analyzes the BLS data, found that the number of people employed grew by 0.018% over the last year in its Akron metro area, which includes Portage and Summit counties. Employment in the five-county Cleveland metro grew 0.019% from November 2014 to November 2015. The ACE estimates cover only private sector employment; the BLS data include all non-farm employment, including the government workforce.

Similarly, unemployment for the Cleveland metro was 3.7%, according to ODJFS, down from 5% in November 2104, while the two-county Akron metro had an unemployment rate of 4.6%, down from 5.3% a year ago.

Regional employment is expected to continue to grow, though slowly. Economists at PNC Financial Services Group, parent of PNC Bank, found optimism in October when the company surveyed small and middle market business owners in Ohio.

Because of optimism about the outlook for their own businesses and for the local economy, 19% of business owners surveyed said they planned to hire in the months ahead, compared with only 10% who had plans to hire six months earlier.

In addition, 36% of those employers — PNC did not disclose the size of its sample — said they expected to increase employees’ pay, up from 26% who were planning pay raises in the spring. Of those planning raises, 59% said they planned to give raises of 3% or more during the next six months.

Seasonally Adjusted Data

Month Non-Farm Small (1-49) Mid-Sized (50+) Goods-producing Service Producing
June (actual) 1,161,467 472,360 689,108 217,477 943,991
July (est.) 1,159,789 471,691 688,097 216,957 942,831
Aug (est.) 1,161,200 472,304 688,896 216,667 944,533
Sept (est.) 1,162,105 472,702 689,403 216,408 945,697
Oct (est) 1,164,808 473,822 690,986 216,617 948,190
Nov (est) 1,163,408 473,390 690,018 214,384 949,024
Recent Month’s Estimated Change
Oct ’15 to Nov ’15 (1,400) (431.7) (968) (2,233) 834
Diff from Nov 2014 5,427 2,430 2,997 (2,174) 7,601
3-Month 1,163,440 473,305 690,136 215,803 947,637
6-Month 1,162,129 472,712 689,418 216,418 945,711

Crain’s Cleveland Business