Summary of Economic Activity
After declining sharply in March and April, the Fourth District economy expanded in recent weeks as some firms resumed business operations. Contacts across most industry segments reported a rebound in activity during the early phases of reopening, although many suggested that the pace of improvement slowed as the reopening progressed. Most were also careful to point out that demand remained well below pre-pandemic levels despite the recent gains. Looking forward, contacts generally expected activity to pick up further in coming months. However, some questioned the sustainability of the pace of recovery amid a spike in new COVID cases across the country along with weak new orders and declining backlogs in some key industries. That uncertainty likely contributed to softness in capital spending and hiring plans. More than 40 percent of contacts cut capital spending plans since the last report, while less than 10 percent planned to spend more. Contacts across a wide array of industries indicated they were bringing idled workers back only slowly, and are unlikely to rehire all of them in the near term. Wages, nonlabor costs, and selling prices were generally flat-to-down.
Read about economic conditions in the Fourth District’s major metropolitan areas.
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
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
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
How Much Help Do State and Local Governments Need? Updated Estimates of Revenue Losses from Pandemic Mitigation
The financial impacts of closed economies and orders to shelter in place are staggering. Our economist estimates state and local revenue losses for 2020 and explores three scenarios to determine what cuts will be necessary in 2021 to offset impending losses. Read More
What’s the financial impact of closed economies and orders to shelter in place? Our economist examines state and local income taxes and sales taxes to find out. Read More
In most US states, mortality rates grew more slowly between April 5, 2020 and April 12, 2020 than they did in prior weeks. However, “slower” does not mean “slow”–during that week, mortality rates doubled or more in 37 states. Read More
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.
- Early benchmark data
- Early benchmark data geography reference
- DataBasics - Early Benchmarking (Dallas Fed)
Last updated: June 5, 2020
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.
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
- Guhan Venkatu Group Vice President
- Richard Kaglic Vice President and Senior Regional Officer
- Mekael Teshome Vice President and Senior Regional Officer
- Joel Elvery Policy Economist
- Rubén Hernández-Murillo Policy Economist
- Stephan D. Whitaker Policy Economist
- Julianne Dunn Economic Analyst
- Anya Briggs External Outreach Coordinator
- Hamza Abdelrahman Research Analyst
- Isabel Brizuela Research Analyst
- Mark Oleson Research Analyst