Fed Report: Manufacturing Struggles, Health And Education Keep Growing

Assembly line pic by Brian Bull; Nurse pic by flickr.com's Government of Alberta; Student pic by flickr.com's mer chau
Assembly line pic by Brian Bull; Nurse pic by flickr.com's Government of Alberta; Student pic by flickr.com's mer chau
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The report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland looked at 17 metro areas across parts of Ohio, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.

Over a twelve-year period starting in 2001, areas like Columbus and Lexington saw double-digit gains in population, and modest but encouraging growth in private sector jobs.

Cleveland, Youngstown, and Steubenville suffered losses in both areas, particularly in manufacturing.

And while the region’s manufacturing sector overall has seen a modest rebound since the last recession, employment is still far below 2001 levels.

Education and health services were the most resilient and recession proof.

Those two sectors are combined in the study, but Fed analyst Matthew Klesta breaks it down.

“Roughly 87% of those jobs are the health side, and then 13% make up the education side," says Klesta. "So there’s a lot of growth in services for elderly and disabled, with the aging population, a lot of people retiring, you have strong growth in the home health care service sector.”

Klesta says higher college enrollments during the recession accounted for part of the growth in education jobs. But he cautions against viewing the uptick in health and education jobs as all good news.

“When you dig deeper and look at the wages that are being paid…like, for instance, home health care aides…that’s a big strong growth area in that health sector…a lot of those jobs are below the national average. Mean national wage is what I’m referring to.”

As to what’s been hurting manufacturing over the past decade, Klesta says cheaper overseas labor and advanced technology have reduced the ranks of American workers.

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