Summary of Economic Activity
The Fourth District economy continued to expand at a solid pace in recent weeks, although supply side constraints limited many firms’ ability to keep up with growing demand. Overall, household spending increased as progress in the fight against COVID-19 led many consumers to pursue activities they had foregone for more than a year, such as dining out and traveling. However, auto dealers and residential real estate agents suggested that while demand remained solid, sales were limited because depleted inventories left potential buyers with fewer buying options. Manufacturers and construction contacts reported that materials shortages, delivery delays, and staffing shortfalls made it difficult to keep up with increasing orders, let alone work down growing backlogs. Contacts in professional and business services and financial services reported strong, steadily increasing activity. More generally, firms remained very optimistic that demand would continue to increase in coming months but were less optimistic that labor and other supply constraints would abate enough to alleviate some of the upward pressure on wages, nonlabor input costs, and selling prices.
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
Migrants from High-Cost, Large Metro Areas during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Their Destinations, and How Many Could Follow
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced tens of millions of people to work remotely, some chose to relocate out of high-cost, large metro areas. Did people move to cheaper metros or give up in city living altogether? How many will follow in their footsteps, and what could their relocating mean for the places they choose? Read More
From product shortages to capacity constraints in the freight sector, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted supply chains continuously if inconsistently. As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the global economy, will supply chain disruptions continue, too? Read More
In 2020, several media stories reported that residents were leaving urban neighborhood because they feared contracting COVID-19. However, people’s taking flight from urban areas is only part of the reason dense neighborhoods were left with fewer residents. 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: December 18, 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