Unemployment rises in Ohio, but slow job growth in Greater Cleveland area
Ohio's unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in February 2017, up from 5.0 percent in January 201, according to the latest jobs figures released by Ohio's Department of Jobs and Family Services.
That number was higher than the U.S. unemployment rate for February 2017, 4.7 percent.
Employment in the Cleveland-Akron metropolitan area was up by 950 jobs in February, following a strong January in which about 8,000 jobs were added, according to Elizabeth McIntyre, publisher and editor of Crain's Cleveland Business. The latest Ahola Crain's Employment (ACE) Report shows most of the increase in jobs came from the service sector, 5,137 jobs, while the good-producing sector, which includes construction, showed a gain of 285 jobs from February 2016 to February 2017.
McIntyre said this was due to the region's warmer-than-usual winter.
"A lot of the construction jobs that may have slowed down a bit were able to keep going because of the warm weather," said McIntyre.
She said the ACE report's economic forecast is similar to recently released 2017 first quarter estimates from economists at Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Service Group. That report described the Northeast Ohio economy as “inching forward."
"We are still lagging behind the national numbers," she said. "It's a slow, steady pace."
McIntyre atributed the slow growth to an aging population.
"That means that there aren't as many people going in [to the job market]. We also have people who are leaving the region, so that slows down job growth as well," she said.
New estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that Cuyahoga County lost an estimated 5,673 people, dropping to 1,249,352. With the population loss, Cuyahoga County is no longer the most populous county in Ohio. Franklin County now holds that distinction. It gained an estimated 14,249 residents last year, for a total population of 1,264,518.