Summary of Economic Activity
Economic activity in the Fourth District increased modestly, albeit at a slightly slower pace than in the prior round. Manufacturing demand held steady, although some producers noted weaker demand because of the Boeing 737 Max production halt. Others expressed concern about supply-chain implications of factory shutdowns in parts of China caused by the outbreak of COVID-19. Retail demand was relatively strong thanks to mild weather, strong consumer confidence, and low interest rates. Professional and business services, a long-standing bright spot in the District, continued to report strong demand for legal, IT, and advisory services. Loan demand was stable, with some improvement in mortgage lending because of low interest rates. Freight haulers said that cargo volumes remained low. On balance, contacts expected that customer demand will improve slightly in the near term. Hiring and wage growth continued at about the same modest pace as in the previous survey period. Contacts indicated that labor was still in short supply, while often noting that they do not believe larger wage increases will attract more applicants. Both nonlabor input costs and selling prices rose modestly.
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
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: January 22, 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
- Tristan Young Research Analyst