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COLUMBUS, OHIO MSA | SECOND QUARTER, 2015

Columbus – Continuing to Expand at a Solid Rate

Most areas of the Columbus metropolitan area’s economy continue to expand. On net, the Columbus economy continues to be the strongest MSA in the Buckeye State
and one of the strongest in the Midwest. Despite a harsh winter, growth continued: employment growth in key sectors remains strong , housing prices are improving,
business activity is progressing , and educational attainment, already at a high level, continues to advance. The outlook for the region remains solid throughout 2015.
The region’s unemployment rate sits well below the national average
 UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

Percent
12

6

— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States
— Nearby metro
average

4

■ Recession

10
8

2
0
2004

2006

2008

2010

2012

2014

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics/Haver Analytics.

The region’s unemployment rate has declined past pre-recession
levels. As of December 2014, unemployment in the Columbus
metro area stood at 4.0 percent, below the 4.6 percent bottom of
the previous expansion and much lower than the state of Ohio’s rate
of 5.1 percent. Continued improvement in the unemployment rate
accrues to continued growth across multiple sectors, with especially
strong performance in the construction and professional and
business services sectors. Expectations for growth in 2015 remain
bright as continued improvement in the manufacturing sector in
response to increased motor vehicle demand is likely.

Per capita GDP has surpassed its level at the start of the recession
 GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT

Index, 2007=100
104
102

— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States
— Nearby metro
average

100
98
96
94

■ Recession

92
90
88

2005

2007

2009

2011

	GDP per capita continues to approach levels not seen since before
the recession. Through 2013, the most recent period for which data
is available, GDP per capita in the Columbus metro area stood nearly
1.6 percent above its level at the start of the recession. This was only
slightly behind the statewide showing of about 2.1 percent, while
nearby metro areas exceeded their pre-recession levels by 1.2 percent.
The national average remains 1.6 percent below its prior level.

2013

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis/Haver Analytics.

Housing prices are growing at a faster rate than those of nearby metros
and the state of Ohio
 HOUSING PRICES

Year-over-year percent change
15
— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States
— Nearby metro
average

10
5
0

■ Recession
-5
-10

2005

2007

2009

Source: Zillow.com/Haver Analytics.

2011

2013

2015

Through February of 2015, housing prices in the Columbus metro
area had returned to growth rates that are consistent with historical
norms. Housing prices were rising at a 4.4 percent rate, surpassed only
by the national average of 4.9 percent. This is due to strong growth in
the employment sector, continued improvements in consumer credit
quality, and slow growth in the supply of available housing in the metro
area. Foreclosure rates continue to decline, which also helps to reduce
the shadow inventory. Growth should continue in the real estate sector as
employment strengthens further and homebuilding increases in response
to a shrinking supply of new and existing homes available for sale.

COLUMBUS, OHIO MSA

FOURTH DISTRICT METRO MIX
YOUR DISTRICT, YOUR DATA

SECOND QUARTER, 2015

EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRIAL SECTORS
Employment levels continue to exceed their pre-recession numbers
 EMPLOYMENT

Index, 2007: M12=100

Employment in the Columbus metro area remains strong as the
region continues to capitalize on its substantial base of highly
educated and innovative workers. Through the end of the third
quarter of 2014, employment levels were approximately 3.7 percent
above their pre-recession numbers. By comparison, the absolute
employment levels in nearby metro areas and the state of Ohio have
yet to return to their pre-recession levels. The nation is exceeding its
pre-recession employment performance by approximately 1 percent.

106

98

— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States
— Nearby metro
average

96

■ Recession

104
102
100

94
92
90
2004

2006

2008

2010

2012

2014

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

Sectoral employment growth strongly outweighs declines

 EMPLOYMENT GROWTH BY SECTOR

	The Columbus metro area’s economy benefits from a highly educated
workforce and diversified industry base, which is demonstrated across
multiple sectors of its economy. The construction, professional and
business services, and education and health services sectors lead
state and national levels in terms of their rates of growth; however,
the construction sector represents a much smaller share of the local
economy. Much of the growth in construction is occurring in the
commercial real estate sector as area businesses invest strongly in
capacity expansion, especially in the industrial sector. Continued
growth is expected in the professional and business services sector.
This fundamentally accrues to the relatively large number of corporate
headquarters that are now pursuing revenue growth after having focused
on cost containment through slow payroll growth.

Construction
Professional and business
services
Education and health services

— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States

Trade, transportation, and
utilities
Manufacturing
Government
Financial activities
Leisure and hospitality

0

-1

1

2
3
4
Percentage change

5

6

7

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

The construction and professional and business services sectors lead Columbus’
sectoral performance

 RELATIVE EMPLOYMENT GROWTH

Increasing
employment growth

Percent
7

Construction

6

Professional and
business services

5
4

Education and
health services

3

Trade, transportation,
and utilities

2

Manufacturing

1
0
-1

Financial activities
0

Leisure and
hospitality

5

15
20
Percent
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of CLEVELAND

10

Larger
share of
metro’s overall
employment

Government

25

	Construction is the fastest-growing sector among the
Columbus metro area’s industry segments. This is primarily
due to large and significant capital investments already
underway at many of the area’s healthcare facilities, as
well as the continued expansion in auto manufacturing.
Accounting for approximately 17 percent of the area’s labor
force, the professional and business services sector also
continues to expand at a strong clip. Demand for insurancerelated, trade, and high-tech professionals remains strong,
while the area’s demand for finance-related and information
professionals continues to lag. The Columbus area
continues to respond to and benefit from the increased
national demand for more educated and technically
proficient labor.

COLUMBUS, OHIO MSA

FOURTH DISTRICT METRO MIX
YOUR DISTRICT, YOUR DATA

SECOND QUARTER, 2015

HOUSING MARKET
Homebuilding growth continues to outpace that of the nation, state,
and nearby metro areas
	H OUSING PERMITS

Index, 2007: M12=100, three-month moving average
350
— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States
— Nearby metro
Cincinnati
average
Average of
■ nearby
Recessionmetros

300
250
200
150
100

United States

50
0

Ohio
2005

2007

2009

2011

2013

2015

Source: Census Bureau/Haver Analytics.

	Homebuilding growth in the Columbus metro area continues
to outpace those of the nation, state, and nearby metro areas.
Homebuilding slowed substantially during the first two months of
2015, in comparison to strong third- and fourth-quarter showings.
The housing supply remains exceptionally tight as builders have not
significantly added to supply since late 2006. Multifamily vacancy
rates remain low as apartment construction still has yet to catch
up with growth in regional demand. Recently, the construction
labor force has begun to grow, thus helping to reduce the mismatch
between increased demand and short supply of the region’s housing.

CONSUMER FINANCES
The metro area’s rate of household deleveraging has remained stable
since the previous reporting period
	C ONSUMER DEBT

Thousands of dollars
55
— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States
— Nearby metro
average

50
45
40
35

■ Recession

30
25
20
2004

2006

2008

2010

2012

2014

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

Since 2005, consumers in the Columbus metro area continue
to have less mortgage, auto, and credit card debt per capita than
the national average. Like many other areas, households in the
Columbus area have actively sought to deleverage since the onset
of the recession and have done so at a rate similar to that of the
nation. Recently, however, that deleveraging process has slowed as
shown by few changes in average debt levels in 2014. Reasons for
the previous debt decline continue to be lower mortgage debt due to
foreclosures and smaller average outstanding balances on revolving
debt instruments such as credit cards and home equity loans.

Delinquency rates are in line with pre-recession levels
	C REDIT CARD DELINQUENCY RATES

Percent of credit card balances delinquent
14
— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States
— Nearby metro
average

12
10
8
6

■ Recession

4
2
0
2004

2006

2008

2010

2012

2014

The credit card delinquency rate is an indicator of the financial
health of households. The credit profile of Columbus remains
better than that of the nation and is in line with nearby metro
areas and the state. Delinquency rates stand approximately where
they were prior the start of the recession, around 7 percent. After
a rapid decline immediately following the recession and some
increase to historical levels since that time, the net average of credit
quality in the Columbus metro area is largely the same as it has
been for the past 10 years.

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

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of CLEVELAND

COLUMBUS, OHIO MSA

FOURTH DISTRICT METRO MIX
YOUR DISTRICT, YOUR DATA

SECOND QUARTER, 2015

INCOME

Average weekly wages have risen to $759, but remain below
pre-recession levels
Dollars, three-month moving average

	A VERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS

950

Average weekly wages in the Columbus metro area continue to
underperform the nation and nearby metro areas. In Columbus,
average weekly wages fell from a post-recession high of $803 in
December 2012 to $759 in February 2015. This decline is due
largely to stronger growth in relatively lower-paid sectors, such as the
construction and leisure and hospitality sectors. The state of Ohio also
saw a slight decline in average weekly wages paid, while nearby metro
areas continue to see marginal improvement over a comparable time
period. This pattern is not unique to the Columbus area as national
wage growth has lagged since the start of the millennium.

— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States
— Nearby metro
average

900
850
800

■ Recession

750
700
650
2007

2009

2011

2013

2015

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics/Haver Analytics.

Columbus exceeds the state in income per capita performance
	I NCOME PER CAPITA

Thousands of dollars
46

	The Columbus metro area continues to have income per capita
well above Ohio and moderately below the nation and nearby
metro areas. The metro area’s slow population growth has helped
to improve growth in income per capita. The region continues to
experience an influx of highly educated and skilled workers into the
relatively high-paying professional and business services sectors.

— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States
— Nearby metro
average

44
42
40

■ Recession
38
36

2005

2007

2009

2011

2013

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis/Haver Analytics.

DEMOGRAPHICS AND EDUCATION
Columbus metro area
			
		
2013
Population

United States

Change from		
2009
2013

Change from
2009

1,969,032

+4.3%

316,129,000

+3.1%

Adults with less than
a high school diploma

10.0%

-0.2%

13.4%

-1.3%

Adults with an undergraduate
degree or higher

33.7%

+0.4%

29.6%

+1.7%

35.7

+1.0 years

37.5

+0.7 years

$54,489

-1.9%

$52,646

-4.2%

Median age (years)
Median household income

 COLUMBUS, OHIO

According to the 2013 US Census Bureau estimates,
Columbus is the 32nd largest of the 381 metropolitan
statistical areas in the United States.

Sources: Census Population estimates; American Community Survey.

All monthly and quarterly figures are seasonally adjusted and all dollar figures are in current dollars, except home prices (which are left nominal). 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 pre-recession levels. If levels were growing before the recession, pre-recession indexes will be below 100; if levels were falling before the
recession, pre-recession 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).

www. clevelandfed.org

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of CLEVELAND