Regional Profile: The Fourth Federal Reserve District

Regional Profile: The Fourth Federal Reserve District

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland serves the Fourth Federal Reserve District, which comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia. The placement and proportions of Federal Reserve Districts were determined primarily by the geographic distribution of the U.S. population at the time the Federal Reserve System was created in 1913.

Metropolitan Statistical Areas: An overview of the 16 Metropolitan Statistical Areas, or "MSAs," of the Fourth Federal Reserve District.

Population: Population statistics and trends since 1970.

Income: Distribution of income per capita and in comparison with national averages.

Industry: The mix of major industries in the Fourth District, as well as a count of Fortune 500 companies whose headquarters reside here, and the distribution of their earnings.

Banking: An overview of major bank holding companies and their assets in the Fourth District.

There are 169 counties in the Fourth District, and 68 of these counties are located within the District’s 16 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). An MSA is an area with a large population core, combined with adjacent communities that have a high degree of social and economic integration with that core.

The four most populous MSAs in the Fourth District—Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus—contain about half of the District's total population of nearly 17 million people.

Ten Largest MSAs in the Fourth District
Metropolitan Area 2000 2010 2000-2010 Percent Change
Fourth District16,75916,9441.1
United States282,166309,0519.5

Source: Census Bureau

Metro Mix
Profiling the economic conditions and outlook in the metropolitan areas of the Fourth District.

Not surprisingly, the District's four most populous metropolitan areas also include the District's four most populous cities. Interestingly, while the Columbus MSA is the third most populous metropolitan area in the District, Columbus itself is the District's most populous city, with over three-quarters of a million people. The only large cities that grew much in the last decade were Columbus and Lexington. They were the only cities in the District with more than 100,000 people to show significant population growth from 2000 to 2010.

Fourth District Population by City (thousands)
City 2000 2010 2000-2010 Percent Change

Average annual increases in population since 1970 have also been consistently higher for the United States than for the District. Annual population growth has averaged about 1.1 percent for the United States over this period, whereas annual increases in the District have averaged 0.1 percent.

In recent decades, the District's population has grown at a significantly slower pace than nation's. Since 1970 the District's population has seen a slight increase of just over 6 percent. By contrast, throughout the same period, U.S. population has grown by about 52 percent.

Nominal personal incomes in the District have also tended to grow more slowly than in the United States as a whole. Since 1970, aggregate nominal income growth in the District has averaged approximately 6 percent annually; by contrast, nominal income in the United States rose roughly 7 percent through the same period. The result has been an increase in income of about 9.5 times for the District since 1970 versus an increase of about 15 times for the nation.

Income growth per person has been rather similar for the District and nation since 1970, although the gap has grown somewhat in recent years. As of 2009, annual per capita personal income was approximately $36,000 in the District, compared with $40,000 for the country as a whole.

Health care has now surpassed manufacturing has the largest employing industry within our District. Districtwide, those employed in the health-care industry make up about 16 percent of the workforce, whereas the comparable figure for the country is about 15 percent. The share of employment the District devotes to manufacturing (about 13 percent) is still greater than the attendant shares for the United States (roughly 11 percent).

The District's Top Ten Fortune 500 Companies
2011 Rank
City Revenues
(Billions of U.S. Dollars)
Cardinal Health19Dublin, OH98.6
Kroger25Cincinnati, OH82.1
Proctor & Gamble26Cincinnati, OH79.6
Macy's107Cincinnati, OH25
Nationwide127Columbus, OH
Goodyear Tire & Rubber139Akron, OH18.8
United States Steel148Pittsburgh, PA17.3
PNC Financial Services Group151Pittsburgh, PA17
Progressive164Mayfield Village, OH14.9
American Electric Power169Columbus, OH14.4

The share of earnings that comes from the health-care and manufacturing industries is much larger in the District than it is in the nation. Also worth noting is that even though more people in the District work in the health-care industry, the share of overall earnings is slightly higher for the manufacturing industry.

With combined assets totaling more than $500 billion, four of the nation's largest 50 bank holding company headquarters are located within the District.

Assets of Major Bank Holding Companies
Company City Assets
(Billions of Dollars)
PNC Financial Services GroupPittsburgh, PA263.2
Fifth Third BancorpCincinnati, OH108.5
KeycorpCleveland, OH84.7
Huntington BancsharesColumbus, OH52.7

Source: Call Reports

A larger share of state banking assets are located outside the major metropolitan areas in Kentucky and West Virginia, a reflection of the relatively rural character of each state. By contrast, Ohio's top three banking markets contain about 65 percent of the state's banking assets.

Distribution of Bank Assets in Fourth District States
Metropolitan Area Number of Banks Fourth District Banking Assets (Percent)

Source: Call Reports

March 4, 2014

Kyle Fee and Nelson Oliver

As of December 2013, the unemployment rate for the Fourth District stood at 6.9 percent versus 6.7 percent for the nation. This is a significant decline compared to highs of 10.4 percent for the District and 10.0 percent for the nation in the fall of 2009. But while the unemployment rate for the nation has continued to steadily decline over the past year, the unemployment rate within the Fourth District has been relatively stable over this same period.

Throughout the 169 counties spanning the four states of the Fourth District, the median county-level unemployment rate was 7.4 percent—representing a decline of 0.6 percent since the last report in September. County-level unemployment rates ranged from a low of 4.1 percent in Mercer County, Ohio, to a high of 16.3 percent in Leslie County, Kentucky. While the decline for Mercer County, Ohio, was relatively moderate, Leslie County, Kentucky, which typically has the highest unemployment rate in the District, showed strong improvement, falling 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. From September to December only 8.9 percent of all District counties saw their unemployment rise. This is a drastic improvement over the second and third quarters of 2013 where 68.0 percent and 52.0 percent, respectively of all District counties experienced an increase in unemployment.

County-level patterns often reflect statewide unemployment rates. For example, as of December 2013, the unemployment rate was 7.2 percent in Ohio, 6.9 percent in Pennsylvania, 8.0 percent in Kentucky, and 5.9 percent in West Virginia. Annual changes in the states’ unemployment rates ranged from a 0.5 percentage point increase in Ohio to a 1.5 percentage points decline in West Virginia. Of the 169 counties that make up the District, 54 (32 percent) have an unemployment rate at or below the national level of 6.7 percent. Conversely, 34 (20 percent) of the District’s counties have double-digit unemployment rates. Geographically, unemployment remains the highest in remote areas of Ohio and Kentucky, while urban areas have maintained stronger labor markets.

Labor force growth continues to be relatively sluggish both nationally and in the District. On the national level, the size of the civilian labor force—those employed or looking for work—has exceeded pre-recession levels. The Fourth District, however, still struggles to make significant gains in its labor force in light of a declining total population.

About the Author

Kyle Fee
  |  Senior Research Analyst

Kyle Fee is a senior research analyst in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. His research interests include economic development, regional economics and economic geography...Read full bio

About the Author

Nelson Oliver
  |  Research Analyst

Nelson Oliver is a research analyst in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. His primary interests include urban revitalization, housing policy, and applied microeconomics...Read full bio