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