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Press Release

Ohio’s eight largest metros have above-average shares of “opportunity occupations,” say Cleveland Fed researchers

New study takes in-depth look at jobs that pay a decent wage and are accessible to workers without a four-year college degree

In September 2015, the Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Atlanta published an analysis of “opportunity occupations,” jobs that are generally accessible to an individual without a four-year college degree and that pay a wage higher than the national median. In a new report from the Cleveland Fed, Bank researchers Kyle Fee and Lisa Nelson take an in-depth look at opportunity occupations in the eight largest Ohio metro areas: Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown. They find that these metros have a higher share of employment in opportunity occupations than the national average. The Cleveland metro area has the highest share of opportunity occupation employment in the state with 36 percent, while Canton, Dayton, and Youngstown each have roughly 30 percent of employment in opportunity occupations.

What are those opportunity occupations? According to the researchers, registered nurses top the list, followed by general and operations managers; bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks; heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers; general maintenance and repair workers; and secretaries and administrative assistants (except legal, medical, and executive).

The researchers also note that the process of up-credentialing – where online job ads indicate employer preferences for higher education levels than is considered necessary by administrative surveys – is not prevalent for most of the opportunity occupations in Ohio’s metros, which may bode well for job seekers without a four-year degree.

From 2011 to 2014, employer education preferences eased for most of the opportunity occupations, making them more accessible to those without a bachelor’s degree. However, the researchers say employer education preferences for registered nurses and first-line supervisors of production and operating workers have become less accessible to those without a four-year degree.

Read: Opportunity Occupations in Ohio: Identification, Online Postings, and Employer Education Preferences

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.455.4479