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Regional Analysis

Beige Book

Summary of Economic Activity

Economic activity in the Fourth District accelerated somewhat in recent weeks after having decelerated over the summer and early fall. While most businesses indicated that demand for their goods and services remained solid, some suggested that persistent supply-side disruptions (and associated higher costs) led some customers to put off spending until availability of products improved or costs came down. For example, one auto dealer said that only customers who need to buy a car are doing so, while others who want one may be sitting on the sidelines. A key factor limiting capacity was the ongoing labor shortage. A few contacts reported that labor availability improved a little in recent weeks, but they were clearly in the minority. Moreover, even those who had seen an increase in applicants noted that the increase was not sufficient to meet their staffing needs. Wages and other input costs continued to rise in recent weeks, and a larger share of firms reported output price increases. Looking forward, contacts were generally more optimistic about demand in coming months than they were in the prior report, even as they expected shortages and higher costs to persist.

Regional Policy Reports

Manufacturing Wage Premiums Have Diverged between Production and Nonproduction Workers

Joel Elvery Julianne Dunn

Manufacturing jobs have long been associated with good wages. While some manufacturing workers still enjoy relatively high wages, the premium for workers on the factory floor has shrunk dramatically. Why? And what does it mean for workforce policy? Read More

Metro Mix

Read about economic conditions in the Fourth District’s major metropolitan areas.

Columbus Metro Mix (November 2019) | PDF

The Columbus metro area continues to be one of the region’s strongest performers, with a low unemployment rate that continues to fall even as the labor force expands, steady employment growth, appreciating home prices, and low consumer debt and credit card delinquency levels. Read more

Toledo Metro Mix (November 2019) | PDF

Economic conditions in the Toledo metro area continue to improve. The unemployment rate has fallen, and employment levels are holding relatively steady. The housing market is a particularly bright spot, with rising residential building permit numbers, growing home prices, and median home values that exceed their prerecession peak. Read more

Advisory Councils

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland maintains a number of advisory councils, which allow us to stay informed about how the economic environment is evolving across our District.

Learn more about our advisory councils here

District Data Briefs

Does Spending Slide When COVID-19 Surges?

Joel Elvery Mark Oleson

Driven by the delta variant, the latest COVID-19 surge is the largest and most widespread since that of November and December 2020. How do consumer spending and social distancing habits during the delta surge compare to those of last fall’s surge? Read More

How Large Are the American Rescue Plan Fund Distributions to State and Local Governments?

Stephan D. Whitaker Grant Rosenberger

Because of the American Rescue Plan, $350 billion will be distributed to state and local governments to help speed the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic. Will these allocations be modest, or will they create a once-in-a-generation opportunity? Read More

Strong Demand, Limited Supply, and Rising Prices: The Economics of Pandemic-Era Housing

Julianne Dunn Isabel Brizuela

When the coronavirus pandemic began, many feared the housing market would collapse as it did in the mid-2000s. Instead, the industry has struggled to keep up with an influx of demand for homes, leading to rapidly rising prices. What’s next for residential real estate and construction? Read More

Regional Data

Early Benchmark Employment Estimates for Fourth District States and Metro Areas

Each year in March, the Labor Department releases revised local employment estimates, by using a nearly complete count of employment from an administrative dataset. Since these administrative data are available quarterly with an approximately six-month lag, researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland compute an early-benchmark employment estimate for regions in the Fourth District. These estimates are intended to approximate the annual March revisions prior to their official release.

Last updated: October 22, 2021 (last observation: September 2021)

Industrial Heartland

The industrial heartland is a geographic and economic region of the United States that comprises those parts of the Midwest and surrounding areas that have relied on manufacturing for a significant share of their economic well-being for most of the last century. Read more

Rust and Renewal Reports

Read about longer term changes to the District's economy in our Rust and Renewal reports, and access updates to the associated data.

Cleveland Metro Area

In 1969, Cleveland was within the top 10 percent of MSAs for real per capita personal income. See how the MSA has fared in the ensuing decades. Read the Cleveland retrospective

Cincinnati Metro Area

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. Read the Cincinnati retrospective

Pittsburgh Metro Area

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. Read how the experiences differed in the Pittsburgh retrospective

Regional Analysis Team