Fourth District Employment Conditions
May’s employment report showed relatively stable conditions in the Fourth District’s labor markets. The district’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.4 percent for the month, which was a bit higher than the national unemployment rate of 4.5 percent (also unchanged from April). While the unemployment rate stayed constant, there were changes in the number of workers employed, the number unemployed, and size of the labor force. Compared to the previous month, the District’s employment and labor force both increased 0.1 percent; however, this was offset by a 1.3 percent increase in the number of unemployed people. On a year-over-year basis, the District’s labor force and the number of people employed increased 0.8 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively, and the unemployment rate rose slightly (0.1 percent).
Of the 169 counties in the Fourth District, 18 had an unemployment rate below the national average and 151 had a higher rate in May. Rural Appalachian counties experienced the highest unemployment rates, with six counties having unemployment rates above 10 percent. Pennsylvania’s labor market continued to show the most strength, with the Pennsylvania counties that are within the Fourth District registering an unemployment rate of 4.4 percent. The unemployment rates of both Fourth District Kentucky (5.4 percent) and Ohio (5.7 percent) exceeded the national rate. Unemployment rates for the District’s major metropolitan areas ranged from a low of 4.0 in Lexington to a high of 6.2 in Toledo.
Lexington’s employment grew at a rate of 1.9 percent on a year-over-year basis and was the only major metropolitan area in the District to increase employment faster than the national average of 1.4 percent. Nonfarm employment dropped in Cleveland (−0.6 percent), Toledo (−0.3 percent), and Dayton (−1.1 percent) since last May. Employment in goods-producing industries fell in almost all District cities as well as nationally (−0.7 percent). Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton all lost goods-producing jobs at more than double the national rate. Service-providing employment fared better and increased in four of the seven major metro areas; Lexington remained at the top of the Fourth District with a 2.8 percent increase in service-providing jobs. All major District metro areas posted job gains in the education and health services industry. The professional and business services sector posted job gains in all major District metro areas except for Cleveland, which contracted 0.5 percent.