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11.16.17

Toledo's job growth slows, but stays positive, according to Cleveland Fed economist Joel Elvery

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Credit card delinquency and unemployment are also on the rise

“The economy of the Toledo metro area has continued to grow, but the pace of growth appears to have slowed relative to the strong growth seen in 2014 and 2015.” That according to Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland economist Joel Elvery

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Toledo–area GDP rose just 0.5 percent in 2016, compared with an average of 2.7 percent in 2014 and 2015. Employment growth is also tracking slower than the state of Ohio as a whole and the nation. “Toledo’s slower employment growth reflects the fact that auto sales peaked in 2016 and that the metro area continued to lose population in 2016,” said Elvery.

Two bright spots in the Toledo area economy are the increases in financial activities as well as leisure and hospitality jobs. “Financial activities employment grew 2.4 percent in the 12 months leading up to March 2017. It was the only sector to grow faster in the metro area than in Ohio or the nation,” according to Elvery. This contrasts with job declines in both construction and manufacturing.

All but two of the Toledo metro area's significant employment sectors gained jobs in 2016​

Taking a look at the health of consumers, one of the most troubling statistics Elvery found was that credit card delinquency rates rose 0.2 percentage points. Elvery noted that was the third quarter in a row in which that rate increased. “The fact that the metro area’s rate is rising shows that some metro area households are having difficulty paying their bills,“ said Elvery.

Consumer debt in the Toledo area however remains low compared to both statewide and national benchmarks. The average adult with a credit report in Toledo ended the second quarter of 2017 with $23,801 of mortgage, auto, and credit card debt. That’s well below the Ohio and national averages of $26,848 and $39,073 respectively. “The difference,” says Elvery, “especially relative to the nation, is largely because the metro area has relatively low home prices and an older population. Low home prices keep mortgage balances low.“

For more of Joel Elvery’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.

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