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Joel Elvery and Julianne Dunn

CLEVELAND, OHIO MSA | MARCH 2019

Cleveland—Improved Economic Conditions

Economic conditions in the Cleveland metro area have improved. Payroll employment is up, particularly in construction and manufacturing. The unemployment rate has
been steady even as the size of the labor force grew in 2018; this means that jobs are being created just as fast as people are entering the labor force. GDP per capita increased, a
development that suggests that businesses in the metro area have become more productive. Consumer debt per capita and the credit card delinquency rate have worsened slightly
but remain low when considered in historical perspective. The housing market appears stable: Permit issuance is down some, but home price growth remains strong and steady.

METRO AREA SNAPSHOT

Unemployment Rate
December
2018

One-year
change

Median Home Value
One-year
change

Payroll Employment

Credit Card
Delinquency Rate

(percent)

June
2018

(thousands)

One-year
change

2018:Q3

One-year
change

(percent)

(percentage points)

(percent)

(percentage points)

December
2018

Cleveland

5.1

–0.3

$145,000

6.5

1,015

0.6

7.7

0.2

Ohio

4.6

–0.3

$138,500

7.4

5,403

0.7

7.1

0.3

United States

3.9

–0.2

$223,900

7.6

146,079

1.5

7.4

0.3

(percent)

The unemployment rate in the Cleveland metro area held steady at
5.1 percent during the second half of 2018.
 UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

Percent
12
10

— Cleveland
— Ohio
— United States

8
6

■ Recession

4
2
0
2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

The unemployment rates in the Cleveland metro area and Ohio were
steady during the second half of 2018, at 5.1 percent and 4.6 percent,
respectively. Though these rates remained above the national average of
3.9 percent in December 2018, they are relatively low historically, and the
stability indicates that labor markets remain healthy. In the metro area,
the labor force grew year-over-year during the last five months of 2018.
When the unemployment rate remains steady while the labor force grows,
it suggests that jobs are being created at the same rate as the rate at which
people are joining the labor force.

2018

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics/Haver Analytics.

In 2017, the Cleveland metro area’s real gross domestic product
per capita rose to $69,153.
 GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT

Index, 2007=100
110
— Cleveland
— Ohio
— United States

105
100

■ Recession

95
90
2007

2009

2011

2013

2015

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis/Haver Analytics.

2017

The Cleveland metro area’s real gross domestic product per capita rose in
2017, growing 3.4 percent to $69,153. This growth suggests that businesses
in the metro area have become more productive because the economy
is producing a lot more output with slightly fewer people. Real GDP per
capita growth was slower in Ohio and the United States (1.5 percent and
1.3 percent, respectively). Economists like to analyze real GDP per capita
because it is a measure of a region’s economic output that can easily be
compared across time (because it is adjusted for inflation) and across areas
of different size (because it is per resident).

CLEVELAND, OHIO MSA

FOURTH DISTRICT METRO MIX
Y O U R D I S T R I C T, Y O U R D A T A

MARCH 2019

EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRIAL SECTORS

In the 12 months leading up to June 2018, the Cleveland metro area
added 5,838 jobs.

 EMPLOYMENT

Index, 2007:M12=100
110

Employment has grown slowly in the Cleveland metro area during
the past few years. In the 12 months leading up to June 2018, the metro
area added just 5,838 jobs, or 0.6 percent of employment. However, as
the metro area’s population declines and ages, it is encouraging to see
continued positive employment growth. Employment growth in Ohio
was also relatively slow, at 0.7 percent (36,315 jobs) between June 2017
and June 2018. Nationwide, employment grew 1.5 percent during the
same period.

— Cleveland
— Ohio
— United States

105
100

■ Recession

95
90
2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

2018

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.

Construction employment in the Cleveland metro area grew 4.8 percent
from June 2017 to June 2018.

 EMPLOYMENT GROWTH BY SECTOR

Construction remains an important growth industry for employment
in the Cleveland metro area. As of June 2018, the sector had grown
4.8 percent since June 2017. Construction employment in Ohio
declined slightly, but this decline is largely a result of a larger-thannormal build-up in Ohio’s construction employment in June 2017.
Solid employment growth in manufacturing continued in the metro
area, the state, and the nation. Compared with the nation as a whole,
the metro area showed slightly slower growth in service-producing
industries such as professional and business services, leisure and
hospitality, and education and health services. In financial activities
and trade, transportation, and utilities, employment declined in
the metro area.

Construction
Manufacturing
Professional and business services
Leisure and hospitality

— Cleveland
— Ohio
— United States

Education and health services
Government
Financial activities
Trade, transportation, and utilities

–1
0
1
2
Year-over-year percent change

3

4

5

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.

Manufacturing added nearly 3,000 jobs to the Cleveland metro area
between June 2017 and June 2018.

Employment

12-month
change

Share of
employment

Education and health services

191,206

778

18.6

Trade, transportation, and utilities

174,689

–911

17.0

Professional and business services

150,127

677

14.6

Government

132,721

98

12.9

Manufacturing

124,254

2,928

12.1

Leisure and hospitality

110,554

468

10.7

Financial activities

60,784

–130

5.9

Construction

38,584

1,763

3.7

Sector

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of CLEVELAND

 SECTOR EMPLOYMENT

Between June 2017 and June 2018, nearly 3,000 manufacturing jobs
were added in the Cleveland metro area. Fabricated metal products
manufacturers added 1,123 jobs, and machinery manufacturers added
963 jobs. The construction sector added more than 1,700 jobs during
the same period, while jobs were lost in the trade, transportation, and
utilities sector. Despite these losses, trade, transportation, and utilities
accounts for 17.0 percent of employment in the metro area, second only
to education and health services. For comparison, education and health
services accounts for 15.2 percent of employment in the United States.
The metro area is more specialized in this sector; 18.6 percent of its
jobs are in education or health services.

CLEVELAND, OHIO MSA

FOURTH DISTRICT METRO MIX
Y O U R D I S T R I C T, Y O U R D A T A

MARCH 2019

INCOME
Inflation-adjusted income per capita in the Cleveland metro area was
$53,019 in 2017—an increase of $958 from 2016.
	I NCOME PER CAPITA

Thousands of dollars
54
52
50

— Cleveland
— Ohio
— United States

48
46

■ Recession

44

Inflation-adjusted income per capita in the Cleveland metro area
increased $958 to $53,019 in 2017, barely passing the United States
as a whole, which reached $52,902. Growth in the metro area and the
nation was 1.8 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, in 2017. In the
state, income per capita grew 1.3 percent ($609) to $47,872 in 2017.
In all three of these regions, income per capita growth was dramatically
stronger in 2017 than in 2016.

42
40
2007

2009

2011

2013

2015

2017

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis/Haver Analytics.

CONSUMER FINANCES
Year-over-year, consumer debt per capita grew 2.2 percent to $28,768
in the Cleveland metro area.
	C ONSUMER DEBT

Thousands of dollars, 4-quarter moving average
55
50

40

— Cleveland
— Ohio
— United States

35

■ Recession

45

30
25
2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

 e four-quarter moving average of consumer debt per capita rose
Th
during the third quarter of 2018 in the Cleveland metro area, Ohio,
and the United States. Year-over-year, the figure grew 2.2 percent to
$28,768 in the metro area. This is slightly higher than in the state,
where debt per capita was $28,217. Both the metro area and the
state have lower consumer debt per capita than the nation as a whole
($41,017). Because homes are more affordable in the metro area
and the state, residents in these two regions have less mortgage debt
than people in many parts of the country.

2018		

Source: Authors’ calculations from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s
Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax.

In the third quarter of 2018, credit card delinquencies in the
Cleveland metro area were at 7.7 percent.
Percent of credit card balances delinquent, 4-quarter moving average
14
12
10

— Cleveland
— Ohio
— United States

8
6

■ Recession

4
2
0
		2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

	C REDIT CARD DELINQUENCY RATE

In the third quarter of 2018, 7.7 percent of all credit card balances in the
Cleveland metro area were on cards with payments that were 90 or more
days overdue. This number is slightly more than in Ohio (7.1 percent)
and in the United States (7.4 percent). In all three geographical areas,
the delinquency rate has been slowly drifting upward in recent years.
This is most likely because credit card lending standards have loosened
in recent years, but it could be due to weakening of households’ financial
positions. Nevertheless, by historical standards, credit card delinquency
remains low.

2018

Source: Authors’ calculations from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s
Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax.

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of CLEVELAND

CLEVELAND, OHIO MSA

FOURTH DISTRICT METRO MIX
Y O U R D I S T R I C T, Y O U R D A T A

MARCH 2019

In December 2018, year-over-year home price growth was 6.5 percent
in the Cleveland metro area.
Year-over-year percent change
10
5

— Cleveland
— Ohio
— United States

0

 HOUSING PRICES

Following a rapid acceleration during 2017, the rate of home price
growth in the Cleveland metro area steadied in 2018. In 2018, the
median home value in the metro area rose $8,800 to $145,000, a
6.5 percent increase. Growth also steadied in the United States as
a whole and was 7.6 percent in 2018. In Ohio, home price growth
accelerated toward the end of 2018, driven by strong growth in
other parts of the state, such as the Cincinnati metro area.

■ Recession

-5
-10
2008

HOUSING MARKET

2010

2012

2014

2016

2018

Source: Zillow.com/Haver Analytics.

In the 12 months leading up to November 2018, the average number
of building permits issued each month in the Cleveland metro area was
11.1 percent lower than it was a year before.
Index, 2007:M12=100, 12-month moving average
110
100
90

50

— Cleveland
—Cleveland
Ohio
— United States
Average of
nearby metros
■ Recession
United States

40

Ohio

80
70
60

30
		2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

2018

Source: US Census Bureau/Haver Analytics.

	H OUSING PERMITS

In the 12 months leading up to November 2018, the average number
of building permits issued each month in the Cleveland metro area
was 11.1 percent lower than it was during the 12 months leading up
to November 2017. This is a significant decline, but it can, in part, be
attributed to timing. A few relatively large multifamily projects were
approved during 2017, a situation which elevated the moving average
for the following 12 months, and permit issuance for single-family
homes was particularly soft in January 2018, a situation which had
the opposite effect. In Ohio and in the United States, building permit
issuance has leveled off in recent months. The 12-month moving
average was down slightly (2.7 percent) in Ohio and up (4.8 percent)
in the United States in November 2018.

DEMOGRAPHICS AND EDUCATION
Cleveland Metro Area
			
		
2017
Population
Adults with less than a
high school diploma

United States

Change from		
2007
2017

2,058,844	­–1.6%

Change from
2007

325,719,000

+8.1%

9.5%

–3.4 pp

12.0%

–3.5 pp

Adults with an undergraduate
30.8%
degree or higher

+4.1pp

32.0%

+4.5 pp

+1.4

38.1

+1.4

$61,841

+0.6%

Median age (years)
Median household income

41.3

$53,798	­–7.9%

 CLEVELAND, OHIO

	
The Cleveland metro area’s population continues to shrink, declining

by 1.6 percent between 2007 and 2017. This decline is in contrast to
the 8.1 percent population growth in the United States during the same
period. The metro area has a smaller share of adults at either end of the
education spectrum than does the nation—60 percent of the metro
area’s adults have at least a high school degree but less than a bachelor’s
degree, versus 56 percent nationwide. Though the metro area’s population
continues to become more educated over time, median household income
declined by nearly 8 percent between 2007 and 2017.

Note: Percentage points is abbreviated as pp.
Source: US Census Bureau population estimates, American Community Survey.

Joel Elvery is a policy economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Julianne Dunn is a research analyst at the Bank. The authors thank economic analyst Christopher Vecchio for
preparing the charts.
All monthly and quarterly figures are seasonally adjusted, and all dollar figures are in constant dollars, for which the base period is provided by the latest available data. Home prices are
an exception, and they are not adjusted for inflation. Where applicable, these adjustments are made prior to calculating percent changes or indexes. Several charts use indexed measures
to facilitate comparisons across regions and have a reference line at 100. These numbers can be thought of as the percentages of prerecession levels. If levels were growing before the
recession, prerecession indexes will be below 100; if levels were falling before the recession, prerecession indexes will be above 100.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, including its branch offices in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves the Fourth Federal Reserve District (Ohio, western Pennsylvania, the northern
panhandle of West Virginia, and eastern Kentucky).
Explore more regional analyses like this Metro Mix, along with research, datasets, and the Beige Book, at www.clevelandfed.org/region.

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of CLEVELAND