Fourth District Employment Conditions
The district’s unemployment rate rose to 5.7 percent for the month of September, an increase of 0.2 percentage point. The jump in the unemployment rate can be attributed to the increase in the number of unemployed people (3.4 percent) outpacing increases in the number of people employed (0.3 percent) and the labor force (0.7 percent). Compared to September’s national unemployment rate, the district’s rate stood 1.0 percent higher, continuing the trend since early 2004 of being consistently higher than the national rate. Year over year, the Fourth District’s unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage point, whereas the national unemployment rate increased 0.1 percentage point.
Of the 169 counties in the Fourth District, 13 had an unemployment rate below the national average in September, while 156 had a higher unemployment rate than the national average. Rural Appalachian counties continue to experience high levels of unemployment; Fourth District Kentucky is home to 9 counties with double-digit unemployment rates. Unemployment rates for the District’s major metropolitan areas ranged from a low of 4.4 percent in Pittsburgh to a high of 6.5 percent in Toledo.
Lexington (1.5 percent) is the only metropolitan area where nonfarm employment grew faster than the national average (1.2 percent) over the past 12 months. Conversely, Cleveland, Dayton, and Toledo have not seen any change in nonfarm employment over the same time period.
Employment in goods-producing industries increased in Akron (1.7 percent), while all other Fourth District metropolitan areas lost goods-producing jobs. Nationally, employment in goods-producing industries declined 1.2 percent.
Lexington showed the strongest growth in service-providing employment (2.0 percent) and was the only large metro area in the Fourth District to top the national average (1.6 percent). Information services expanded strongly in Toledo (7.5 percent) and Lexington (6.5 percent) but contracted in Cincinnati (–3.2 percent) and Columbus (–0.5 percent). Employment in professional and business services grew faster than the nation’s 1.9 percent in Columbus (2.3 percent), Toledo (2.9 percent), and Akron (2.8 percent). Cincinnati posted stronger job gains in the education and health services industry (3.3 percent) than the nation (3.1 percent) over the past 12 months. All other metropolitan areas in the Fourth District posted modest gains in the education and health services industry except for Dayton.