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Regional Analysis

Beige Book

Summary of Economic Activity

Business activity decelerated and was slightly positive as firms grappled with ongoing supply chain challenges, tight labor market conditions, and escalating costs. These challenges also clouded the near-term outlook for the economy, a situation leading firms to be conservative with their investment spending. The soft growth of demand was evident in most sectors save for professional services, which grew strongly. In a change from recent reports, concerns about COVID-19 were largely absent from commentaries, and contacts were mainly concerned about the uncertainty of the economic outlook and the inflation environment. Employment rose moderately, but firms continued to report that they were understaffed. Contacts suggested they were more focused on employee retention than in the recent past and had broadly raised wages and bonuses. Costs rose for a wide range of items, most notably for energy and food. Firms generally had little difficulty raising prices to offset cost increases, and many contacts expected upward pressure on prices to persist over the next 12 months.

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

Potential Impacts of the War in Ukraine on the Fourth District

Stephan D. Whitaker

The Russia–Ukraine war has had significant effects on both countries’ exports, and trade partners worldwide have experienced interruptions in supplies. This District Data Brief examines how much our region’s economy may be affected by the disruptions. Read More

Demographic Trends Are Major Factors in Today’s Weak Labor Force Growth

Joel Elvery Isabel Brizuela

The size of the US labor force declined by 2.3 million people between December 2019 and December 2021. Our experts examine demographic changes to determine if this decline is a passing trend or if it’s here to stay. Read More

Disruptions Are Expected to Persist, Prompting Some Firms to Rethink Supply Chain Management

Julianne Dunn

Despite expectations that supply chain challenges would have subsided, disruptions continue. In response, some firms are making changes to the way that they manage their supply chains, and these changes are expected to be long-lasting. 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: April 18, 2022 (last observation: March 2022)

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