Recent job gains and an unemployment rate that tracks closely to the national average point to an overall improvement in Northeast Ohio’s regional economy, according to a new Team Northeast Ohio report.
The Cleveland-based nonprofit, which promotes regional business attraction and economic development in Northeast Ohio, released its quarterly report on the region’s economic indicators today.
The region’s unemployment rate, which has far exceeded the U.S. average in previous recessions, has been close to the U.S. rate for the past 12 months of the recession, according to the report.
Northeast Ohio’s unemployment rate was 9.9 percent in the third quarter, just slightly above the nation’s 9.5 percent unemployment rate during the same period.
“Coming out of a recession, it is good to be close to the U.S.,” said Jacob Duritsky, research manager for Team NEO.
The report should allay concerns that Northeast Ohio is at risk for a double-dip recession, Duritsky added.
The report shows that the 16- county region saw total employment increase by 4 percent — more than 80,000 jobs — from the first quarter of 2010, with major employment gains in the manufacturing and service sectors.
Northeast Ohio also experienced declines in overall unemployment and a drop in both new and continuing unemployment claims, according to the report. Initial unemployment claims have returned to pre-recession levels, indicating that the pace of layoffs have slowed. The report also notes that Moody’s economy.com projects that Northeast Ohio’s gross regional product will grow 3.6 percent in 2010. The U.S. economy is expected to grow 2.7 percent this year, according to the site’s projections.