Economic Research and Data

Economic Trends

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Regional Activity

Fourth District Employment Conditions

The district’s unemployment rate rose to 5.6 percent in June (a 0.2 percent increase over May’s rate). The increase mirrors the small increase in the national unemployment rate (0.1 percent). Analysis of the Fourth District’s underlying employment statistics offers insight into the rate increase. The number of workers employed in the district actually increased (0.1 percent), but because the number of people in the labor force increased as well (0.4 percent), the number of unemployed workers rose 3.9 percent. On a year-over-year basis, the Fourth District’s unemployment rate increased 0.3 percent while the national unemployment rate remained unchanged.

Of the 169 counties in the Fourth District, 20 had an unemployment rate below the national average in June, 1 had a rate equal to it, and 148 had a higher rate. Rural Appalachian counties continue to experience high levels of unemployment—seven rural Appalachian counties have unemployment rates above 10 percent. Fourth District Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate (at 4.5 percent) remains slightly below the nation’s, while Fourth District Kentucky and Ohio have unemployment rates (5.8 percent and 6.1 percent) well above the nation’s. Unemployment rates for the District’s major metropolitan areas ranged from a low of 4.1 percent in Pittsburgh to a high of 6.4 percent in Toledo.

Cleveland and Toledo have experienced declines in nonfarm employment over the last 12 months of −0.5 percent and −1.2 percent, respectively. Lexington is the only metropolitan area where nonfarm employment grew faster (2.1 percent) than the national average (1.5 percent). Employment in goods-producing industries fell nationally and in almost all District cities except for Akron, which added 0.3 percent more goods-producing jobs over the past year. Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton all lost goods-producing jobs at more than double the national rate. Service-providing employment increased in six of the eight major metropolitan areas of the Fourth District, with Lexington posting strong growth (2.8 percent). Employment in professional and business services grew in all Fourth District metro areas except for Cleveland (−0.7 percent) and Toledo (−0.8 percent). All major District metro areas posted job gains in the education and health services industry.

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