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COLUMBUS, OHIO MSA | OCTOBER 2016

Columbus—Strong Employment Gains and a Low Unemployment Rate
The Columbus area’s year-over-year employment gains as of March 2016 were stronger in percentage terms than the gains experienced statewide
or nationally, with positive contributions coming from most major industry segments. Additionally, as of July, the area’s unemployment rate
reached 3.8 percent, the lowest reading recorded during this recovery. The issuance of residential building permits remains fairly robust, and
home price gains have averaged about 5 percent at an annual rate since the beginning of 2013. Finally, per capita consumer debt levels and credit
card delinquency rates remain low and stable in the metro area.

METRO AREA SNAPSHOT
Unemployment Rate
July 2016

Median Home Values

One-year
change

July 2016

One-year
change

Credit Card
Delinquency Rates

Employment
March
2016

One-year
change

2016:Q1

One-year
change

(thousands)

Columbus

3.8%

–0.1

$156,900

3.6%

997

2.6%

6.5%

–0.1

Ohio

4.8%

0.1

$121,600

3.5%

5,326

1.8%

6.9%

0.0

Nearby metro average

4.7%

–0.2

$132,720

3.2%

1,195

1.7%

6.7%

0.0

United States

4.9%

–0.4

$187,300

5.1%

141,231

1.9%

7.7%

0.2

The area’s unemployment rate reached 3.8 percent in July, the lowest
reading recorded during this recovery.
Percent
12

6

— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States
— Nearby metro
average

4

■ Recession

10
8

 UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

The Columbus area’s unemployment rate remains at its lowest level since the
early 2000s, and below 4 percent. As of July, the area’s unemployment rate
reached 3.8 percent, the lowest reading recorded during this recovery. (That
rate was also achieved in September 2015.) This was about a percentage point
below the statewide and national averages, which were 4.8 percent and
4.9 percent, respectively, in July.

2
0

2006

2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics/Haver Analytics.

At 4.3 percent, real per capita GDP growth in 2015 far exceeded that
of the previous 2 years.
Index, 2007=100
110
— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States
— Nearby metro
average

105
100

■ Recession

95
90
2005

2007

2009

2011

2013

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis/Haver Analytics.

2015

 GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT

The Columbus area’s real per capita GDP grew 4.3 percent in 2015. That’s
considerably stronger than in the preceding two years; in 2013 real per capita
GDP growth in the area was only 0.7 percent and in 2014 it was 1.5 percent.
The area’s 2015 real per capita GDP growth also exceeded the growth rates
in Ohio and the United States, which were 3.0 percent and 2.5 percent,
respectively. Relative to 2007, the year the Great Recession began, per capita
GDP levels in 2015 in the metro area are approximately 5 percent higher.
Statewide, they are almost 6.5 percent higher, but nationwide, they are only
about 1.5 percent higher.

COLUMBUS, OHIO MSA

FOURTH DISTRICT METRO MIX
YOUR DISTRICT, YOUR DATA

OCTOBER 2016

Year-over-year employment grew 2.6 percent as of March 2016, stronger
than in Ohio or the US.

 EMPLOYMENT

Index, 2007: M12=100

Employment in the Columbus area grew 2.6 percent in the year that
ended in March 2016. This increase was stronger than the area’s
average annual growth rate over the prior 5-year period (March 2010
to March 2015), during which employment grew at an annual pace
of about 2.1 percent. Columbus’s year-over-year employment gains
as of March were also stronger in percentage terms than the gains
experienced nationally or statewide during this time period, which
were under 2 percent in both cases.

110
— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States
— Nearby metro
average

105
100

■ Recession
95
90

2006

2008

EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRIAL SECTORS

2010

2012

2014

2016

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

Four sectors saw stronger growth in Columbus than in the nation, and
two saw weaker employment gains.

 EMPLOYMENT GROWTH BY SECTOR

Major industries in the Columbus area generally saw stronger
employment growth rates than did those same industries statewide
or nationally. Relative to the United States, growth rates were
notably stronger—that is, at least a percentage point greater—in
construction; financial activities; education and health services;
and manufacturing. The two sectors where the Columbus area saw
weaker employment gains than in the United States were professional
and business services and information. In the latter case, the
Columbus area experienced outright employment declines.

Construction
Education and health services
Leisure and hospitality
Financial activities
Trade, transportation,
and utilities
Professional and business
services

— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States

Manufacturing
Government
Information

		
–2
0
2
4
6
		Percent change

8

10

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

Nearly all major industry categories contributed to the Columbus area’s
year-over-year employment gains.
Employment

12-month
change

Share of
employment

Trade, transportation, and utilities

188,088

3,312

19.2

Professional and business services

165,109

2,843

16.8

Government

152,085

1,879

15.5

Education and health services

149,107

6,137

15.2

Leisure and hospitality

101,501

3,641

10.3

Manufacturing

71,861

1,205

7.3

Financial activities

71,499

2,274

7.3

Construction

33,031

2,532

3.4

Information

15,663

–181

1.6

Sector

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

 SECTOR EMPLOYMENT

	
Nearly all major industry categories contributed positively to the

Columbus area’s employment gains during the year that ended in
March 2016. The one exception to this was information, where
employment fell by close to 200 workers. The education and health
services category was among the largest contributors to the area’s
employment gain, accounting for almost a quarter of the increase.
Other major contributors included leisure and hospitality; trade,
transportation, and utilities; professional and business services; and
construction. Collectively, these industries accounted for about half of
the area’s employment gains during this 12-month period.

COLUMBUS, OHIO MSA

FOURTH DISTRICT METRO MIX
YOUR DISTRICT, YOUR DATA

OCTOBER 2016

INCOME
Since 2009, real per capita income gains in the Columbus area have
equaled or exceeded the average gains in Ohio and the US.
Thousands of dollars
47

After declining in 2013, real per capita income in the Columbus area grew
	
— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States
— Nearby metro
average

45
43

■ Recession

41
39

2006

2008

	I NCOME PER CAPITA

2010

2012

again in 2014. The area saw an increase of about 1.3 percent, which was
weaker than the roughly 2 percent gain recorded statewide and nationally.
Nevertheless, since 2009—the year the current economic expansion
began—cumulative real per capita income gains in the Columbus area
have equaled or exceeded the gains in Ohio or the United States. Between
2009 and 2014, the metro area and Ohio each experienced average annual
real per capita income gains of 1.5 percent, exceeding the 1.2 percent
increase registered in the United States during the same time period.

2014

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis/Haver Analytics.

CONSUMER FINANCES
After stabilizing in 2014, per capita consumer debt levels have risen
roughly 1 percent at an annual rate.
	C ONSUMER DEBT

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

50
45
40
35

■ Recession

30

 er capita consumer debt levels declined throughout the first several
P
years of the expansion, generally stabilizing around 2014. In the
Columbus area, they reached their lowest point after the financial crisis
in the fourth quarter of 2014. In the year-and-a-half that followed,
consumer debt levels in the area have risen roughly 1 percent at an
annual rate. That’s similar to the rate registered statewide over the same
time period but slightly stronger than the increase recorded nationally.

25
20

2006

2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

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

Since 2005, the area’s credit card delinquency rates have been below
those of Ohio and the US.
	C REDIT CARD DELINQUENCY RATES

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

12
10
8
6

Credit card delinquency rates remain low and stable in the Columbus
area. Since 2005, the metro area’s credit card delinquency rates have been
below those of Ohio and the United States. That remained the case as
of the second quarter of 2016, when delinquency rates in the area were
approximately 6.5 percent. That’s slightly less than the statewide average,
and almost a percentage point lower than the US average.

■ Recession

4
2
0

2006

2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

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

OCTOBER 2016

HOUSING MARKET

Year-over-year home price gains have been positive but volatile.
 HOUSING PRICES

Year-over-year percent change

Year-over-year home price gains have been positive but volatile in the
Columbus area since the beginning of 2014. During this time, gains
have been as high as 7.9 percent and as low as 2.7 percent. Averaging
changes over the entire time period (which would include 2013)
indicates that the area has experienced average annual price increases of
about 5.2 percent. That’s roughly the same as the home price increases
registered nationally during the same time period, but stronger than the
growth rate in Ohio (3.3 percent).

15
— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States
— Nearby metro
average

10
5
0

■ Recession
–5
–10

2006

2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

Source: Zillow.com/Haver Analytics.

Average monthly permit issuance remains relatively robust in the
Columbus area.
	H OUSING PERMITS

Index, 2007: M12=100, six-month moving average
300
— Columbus
— Ohio
— United States
— Nearby metro
Cincinnati
average
Average of
nearby
metros
■
Recession

250
200
150
100

United States

50
0
		2006

Average monthly permit issuance remains relatively robust in the
Columbus area. After falling to a monthly average of about 320 in
2009—the year the Great Recession ended—permit issuance in
the metro area rebounded. It peaked in 2013, with average monthly
issuance in that year exceeding 700. In the two full years that followed,
average issuance was around 600; that pace has continued through the
first eight months of 2016.

Ohio
2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

Source: Census Bureau/Haver Analytics.

DEMOGRAPHICS AND EDUCATION
Columbus Metro Area
			
		
2014
Population

United States

Change from		
2009
2014

Change from
2009

1,997,308

+5.8%

318,857,000

+3.9%

Adults with less than
a high school diploma

9.5%

–0.7%

13.1%

–1.7%

Adults with an undergraduate
degree or higher

34.7%

+1.4%

30.1%

+2.2%

35.8

+1.1 years

37.7

+0.9 years

$57,351

+0.6%

$54,590

–3.2%

Median age (years)
Median household income

 COLUMBUS, OHIO

	
According to 2014 US Census Bureau estimates,

Columbus, Ohio, ranks as the 32nd largest of the
381 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States.

Sources: Census Bureau 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