The Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area
The Akron metropolitan area - home to 702,000 residents - stretches across Summit and Portage Counties. The region is typical of many metro areas in the Fourth District in that it has seen limited population growth over the past three decades. In fact, since 1970 Akron's population grew by only 3.5 percent compared to 46 percent for the United States.
Although Akron enjoys a relatively diverse economy, the manufacturing sector still claims the highest employment concentration relative to the United States, followed by professional and business services.
Nevertheless, manufacturing employment in the Akron region has experienced a dramatic decline since the last business cycle peak in March 2001 - 17.4 percent compared to a 16.3 percent decrease for the United States. In contrast, Akron outpaced the country as a whole in non-manufacturing job growth during the same time period - 8.4 percent locally versus 5.3 percent nationally.
Looking more closely at total annual employment growth, we see that the United States did slightly better than the Akron metro area in 2001 and 2002. This was due primarily to a larger decline in local manufacturing jobs. However, beginning in 2003 and continuing through 2005 the trend was reversed. During this latter period Akron showed annual employment gains of 1.5 to 2.0 percent. Further, manufacturing job losses became negligible and increases were seen in two broad sectors - finance, information and business services and education, health, leisure, government and other services.
Local employment trends seen during 2003 through 2005 continued into 2006. For the 12-month period ending in October, financial activities, information, and professional and business services led all other industry sectors in employment growth with increases ranging from 2.3 to 4 percent. Manufacturing continued to show a negligible employment change on a year-over-year basis.
During the 1990s, the Akron metro area enjoyed a consistently lower unemployment rate than the United States. In fact, during the mid 1990s, local unemployment was about one percentage point less than was reported nationally. Only during the past three years has this trend been reversed. For the 12-month period ending in October 2006, Akron's average unemployment rate was 0.5 percentage point higher than in the United States.
Over time, average per capita personal income across all U.S. metro areas has been somewhat higher than in Akron with a gap of about 6.4 percent. However, when comparing per capita income growth, we find that the growth rates in Akron and the United States are almost the same. Between 1980 and 2004, local income increased by 219 percent compared to 226 percent nationally.
The similarity in growth may be partially due to the educational attainment of Akron residents. In 2005, over 28 percent of these residents held a bachelor's degree or higher. This compares to 23.3 percent in Ohio and 27.2 percent nationally.
|Total population (millions)||0.7||11.2||288.4|
|Percent by race|
|Percent by age|
|0 to 19||26.0||27.0||27.8|
|20 to 34||19.3||19.3||20.1|
|35 to 64||41.6||40.8||40.0|
|65 or older||13.0||12.8||12.1|
|Percent with a bachelor's degree or higher||28.1||23.3||27.2|
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.