Toledo-area economy sending mixed signals, according to Cleveland Fed researchers
Positive signs from per capita income and GDP growth clouded by employment picture
The latest read on local indicators suggests that the economic situation in the Toledo metro area is a mixed bag. Real per capita GDP and income both rose slightly in 2016, but recent estimates of employment and unemployment paint a somewhat darker picture.
The unemployment rate dipped to 4.4 percent in March, down nearly 1 percentage point from a year ago. “Though the unemployment rate has fallen, the decline is driven by a decrease in the labor force,” according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Joel Elvery and Julianne Dunn. The number of unemployed people in the Toledo metro area fell by 3,000 in the 12 months leading up to March 2018, but the labor force fell by 2,700.
Employment too is down. Following several years of growth, employment in the region declined by more than 2,200 jobs between September 2016 and 2017. “Much of the decline can be attributed to the closure of the Jeep Cherokee assembly plant in April 2017,” says Elvery. Since the closure, employment has been fairly steady, but Toledo still lags behind both the state and the nation, as employment has yet to get back to its December 2007 pre-recession levels.
That said, both income and gross domestic product per capita grew in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available. Real GDP per capita grew 0.5 percent, slightly slower than the state’s rate of 0.7 percent and the nation at 0.8 percent. Income per capita growth slowed in 2016, but outpaced both Ohio and the US as a whole. In fact, the gap between the Toledo metro area’s income per capita and the state of Ohio’s is at its lowest level since 2007.
“However, it is important to keep in mind that population (the denominator in these calculations) has also been declining in the metro area,” added Elvery.
For more of Elvery and Dunn’s insights on economic conditions in the Toledo area, see our latest Toledo Metro Mix.
And browse through our Region, for data, maps, research, and other information related to the diverse economies and communities in the region served by the Cleveland Fed: Ohio, eastern Kentucky, western Pennsylvania, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.
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.
Doug Campbell, firstname.lastname@example.org, 513.455.4479