Rust and Renewal: Industrial Heartland Series

Rust and Renewal: A Cleveland Retrospective

1969–2016 | Report PDF | Appendix PDF

Mark E. Schweitzer

This report examines the economic performance of the Cleveland metropolitan statistical area (MSA) from 1969 to 2016 in terms of employment, unemployment, population, and real per capita personal income levels. While comparisons are made to national averages, a more relevant peer group for the Cleveland MSA is that of the MSAs of the industrial heartland: areas located in and near the Midwest that, like Cleveland, also have historical concentrations in manufacturing. Even when the Cleveland MSA’s performance is compared to that of the other industrial heartland MSAs rather than to that of the nation, it is often somewhat weaker; however, the shared timing of adverse economic developments, including multiple shocks to manufacturing employment, points to the significant challenges faced by most industrial heartland MSAs.

Population
Employment
Unemployment
Per Capita Income

The retrospective includes data on population, employment, unemployment, real per capita personal income, and more.

The key results of this analysis on the Cleveland MSA’s economic performance are the following:

  • Between 1969 and 2016, employment in the Cleveland MSA grew more than 20 percent. But this growth was much weaker than that in either the industrial heartland or the nation: The nation’s employment grew by more than 100 percent, and the average industrial heartland MSA saw its employment level grow by 50 percent.
  • Despite the weak growth of employment in the Cleveland MSA, unemployment rates in the MSA have again declined to levels similar to national unemployment rates. The recovery in the Cleveland MSA’s unemployment rate happened following two large declines in manufacturing that affected the Cleveland MSA and the broader industrial heartland by sharply raising unemployment rates.
  • The recovery of the unemployment rate in the Cleveland MSA occurred in spite of slower employment growth because population growth was significantly lower in the Cleveland MSA than in other US MSAs.
  • In 1969, the Cleveland MSA was among the top 10 percent of MSAs for per capita income. Despite declines in per capita income following the large shocks to manufacturing employment experienced in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Cleveland MSA’s per capita income remained above average until 2000. The decline in manufacturing experienced in the Cleveland MSA between 2001 and 2010 appears to have further dampened income growth; this which experience is consistent with the experience of other industrial heartland MSAs that suffered income losses along with manufacturing losses. The Cleveland MSA is now notably below the national MSA average for per capita income.

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Rust and Renewal: A Cincinnati Retrospective

1969–2016 | Report PDF | Appendix PDF

Gary Wagner

Much like that of the United States, the economic landscape of Cincinnati has been remolded and reshaped as the region has transitioned from a diversified industrial base to a heavily service-oriented economy. This report evaluates the performance of the Cincinnati metropolitan statistical area (MSA) on key economic indicators such as employment, unemployment, population, real per capita income, and educational attainment during the period from 1969 to 2016. It also explores more recent developments in the MSA’s economy and discusses the region’s prospects for future growth. Comparisons are made not only to the performance of all metropolitan areas in the United States, but also to a subset of historically manufacturing-intensive metropolitan areas this report terms “the industrial heartland.”

Population
Employment
Unemployment
Per Capita Income

The retrospective includes data on population, employment, unemployment, real per capita personal income, and more.

The key results of our analysis of the Cincinnati MSA’s economic performance are the following:

  • In terms of population, employment, real per capita income, and educational attainment, the Cincinnati MSA has outperformed the typical industrial heartland metropolitan area but has underperformed relative to the average metropolitan area in the nation as a whole.
  • Much like the industrial heartland, the Cincinnati MSA was harder hit in terms of job losses by the national recessions in the early 1980s than by the Great Recession.
  • Although the Cincinnati MSA remains a manufacturing-intensive region relative to the nation, it is now solidly a modern service-oriented metropolitan area led by business-management, financial, and accounting activities.
  • The region has a culture of innovation, with patents being granted at a higher rate to businesses and individuals within Cincinnati than to those within the typical industrial heartland metropolitan area. However, the distribution of patents is highly concentrated among a few organizations, a situation which could result in the MSA’s future growth prospects’ being more vulnerable to disruptions.
  • Cincinnati has made solid strides toward reclaiming itself as a center for the arts and for unique architecture in the Midwest. Combined with investments in workforce development and education programs to boost productivity, the MSA can become a more attractive place to live and work with more inclusive opportunities.

Download the complete Report | Download the Suppressed Data and Imputation Appendix

Rust and Renewal: A Pittsburgh Retrospective

1969–2016 | Report PDF

Guhan Venkatu

Pittsburgh’s economy has changed considerably following the significant structural adjustments to the steel industry, and to manufacturing more generally, that occurred roughly 40 years ago. This report evaluates the performance of Pittsburgh’s economy since these events along a number of dimensions, including employment, unemployment, population, and per capita income. It also explores the emergence of new industries in the area and discusses the region’s prospects for future growth. Throughout this report, we compare the economic performance of the Pittsburgh metropolitan statistical area not only to that of the United States as a whole, but also to that of a subset of historically manufacturing-intensive metropolitan areas that collectively this report terms “the industrial heartland.”

Population
Employment
Unemployment
Per Capita Income

The retrospective includes data on population, employment, unemployment, real per capita personal income, and more.

The key results of this analysis are the following:

  • Prior to the structural adjustments affecting the steel industry, the Pittsburgh metropolitan statistical area (MSA) had been above average in terms of its share of manufacturing employment and earnings, but by 1990, it was below average along both dimensions.
  • While the Pittsburgh MSA suffered greatly during and after the twin recessions of the early 1980s, its experience during and after the Great Recession was altogether different, with far-less-severe job losses in percentage terms than the nation’s and a more rapid return to prerecession employment levels.
  • Pittsburgh’s per capita income fell below the nation’s average during the 1980s, but it rebounded by the beginning of the 1990s and was approximately 4 percent higher than the national average by 2016.
  • While manufacturing is no longer a source of specialization for the region, industries associated with management, mining and utilities, healthcare, and education have above-average employment in the region compared with that of the nation. The region also appears to be an emerging energy and high-technology hub.
  • While the area was losing workers in the early 1980s, more recently it has attracted the young and educated. By 2010, the Pittsburgh MSA was in the top quintile among America’s 100 most-populous metro areas in terms of its share of 25- to 35-year-olds with a bachelor’s or advanced degree.

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