Columbus metro area’s labor market cruising at a slightly slower pace, say Cleveland Fed researchers
The Columbus metro area’s economy is sturdy, with a relatively low unemployment rate (3.8 percent in March 2019). In the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s latest Columbus Metro Mix, Bank researchers Mekael Teshome and Sarah Mattson found total employment grew at a slightly slower rate recently than the metro area’s average pace of the current economic expansion.
The unemployment rate ranged between 3.8 percent and 4.0 percent between March 2018 and March 2019. “This number is in line with the metro area’s average unemployment rate during the last three years and is low relative to the state’s unemployment rate (4.4 percent),” write Teshome and Mattson. In the first three months of 2019, both employment and the size of the labor force grew strongly. Strong labor force growth, in particular, is a sign that workers are confident in regional economic conditions and are willing to enter the job market in search of opportunities.
Examining the housing market, home prices in the metro area have risen faster, on average, than in the state or nation throughout this economic expansion. On a year-over-year basis, home prices in the Columbus metro area rose 8.0 percent in March 2019. The median home value in the Columbus metro area is $193,000, which is affordable relative to the national median home value of $227,000 but is relatively expensive for Ohio (which has a median home value of $140,000).
One blemish in the Columbus metro area’s otherwise positive economic story is that its inflation-adjusted GDP per capita, a measure of prosperity and standard of living, essentially stopped growing from 2016 to 2017.
For more of Teshome and Mattson’s insights on economic conditions in the Columbus area, see our latest Columbus Metro Mix.
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