The seven counties of Northeast Ohio added 943 jobs in February, a modest number, but the second straight month of job increases, according to the Ahola Crain’s Employment (ACE) Report.
Year-over-year, payrolls were up by 5,422 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, a 0.46% increase.
February payrolls for the Cleveland Akron Metropolitan Area equaled 1,180,415 on a seasonally adjusted basis. Between February 2016 and February 2017, most of the increase in jobs came from the service section, 5,137 jobs, while the goods-producing sector showed a gain of 285 jobs.
“Recent economic data releases are very encouraging about the near-term outlook for the U.S. economy, and (we) should in turn have a similar expectation for economic activity in Northeast Ohio,” said Jack Kleinhenz, the Cleveland Heights economist who created the ACE model.
“The data in many cases continues on a roller coaster pattern, which makes the strength of the momentum hard to detect,” Kleinhenz said. “Nonetheless, (the data) include the NFIB’s small business optimism index that remains elevated; housing starts increased in February; the job opening and labor turnover survey was unchanged but positive; February’s retail sales were tepid; business inventories increased; and industrial production was unchanged after dipping in January.”
That forecast agrees with a recently released estimate from economists at Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Service Group, which described the Northeast Ohio economy as “inching forward” during the first quarter of 2017.
“The region’s economic growth is hamstrung, however, by a manufacturing industry that is struggling on multiple fronts,” the report stated. “Steel production and employment in 2016 had been hit hard by cheap imports and the collapse in energy prices that reduced investment in oil and gas wells.”
The PNC economists did see hopeful signs — the oil and gas rig count began to edge up in the last half of 2016, high steel tariffs are expected to help domestic producers, and the auto industry is coming off a record year — at least in the short term.
“Longer term, continued population loss will cause Northeast Ohio to be a below-average performer in terms of job growth,” the report stated before ending on a more optimistic note.
“Though still only in their early development stages, manufacturing hubs for the machinery of new energy technologies and transportation equipment hold great promise for those regions that can attract and cultivate them,” according to the report. “The (Northeast Ohio) region’s lower costs and availability of underutilized assets will be an important tool in attracting new industries and opportunities into the region in the years ahead.”
Seaonally adjusted data
|Month||Non-Farm||Small (1-49)||Mid-Sized (50+)||Goods-producing||Service Producing|
|Sept 2016 (act)||1,175,448||478,642||696,805||211,538||963,910|