Columbus, OH – Columbus Region employment increased by 1,000 jobs in the first quarter, according to the economic development update released today by Columbus 2020, the 11-county regional economic development entity. The report includes regional economic analysis by Regionomics® LLC, as well as data supplied by Columbus 2020.
Translating to a slight employment boost (0.1 percent) in the first quarter, the Columbus MSA’s employment ended up between Ohio and U.S. increases of less than 0.1 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. The Region’s employment growth over the past 12 months was 5,400 (0.6 percent), while Ohio posted 0.1 percent growth and the U.S. numbers increased by 1.4 percent.
Although the Columbus Region’s 6 percent unemployment rate was up from December’s 5.7 percent, based on seasonally-adjusted numbers, the rate was still less than the 7.1 percent Ohio rate and the 7.6 percent U.S. rate. The rise was a result of the labor force increasing by 3,500 while the number of employed residents was essentially unchanged from December.
The Region experienced greater-than-average employment gains in logistics (1.5 percent), computer services (2 percent), healthcare (1.8 percent), and government (0.6 percent) – all significantly higher than state and national gains. Losses were recorded in retail (-2.3 percent), finance and insurance (-1.1 percent), and manufacturing (-0.2 percent).
“It’s encouraging to see the Columbus Region continue to experience employment growth, along with the increase of 3,500 people in the labor force in the first quarter of 2013,” said Jung Kim, director, research, Columbus 2020. “The healthcare industry in particular has performed strongly, with employment up 3.8 percent year-over-year, double the national rate of growth.”
Housing and real estate updates were strong for the Columbus Region in the first quarter. Building permits were issued for 1,894 residential units in the Columbus MSA, representing a 46 percent increase from the previous year – compared to the U.S. increase of 24 percent – primarily due to a record-breaking number of permits issued in January. Single-unit permits boasted a 32 percent gain compared to a 25 percent nationwide increase. Permits for units in multi-unit structures in the Region were 63 percent of the total, compared to 35 percent of permits nationally.
Home sales were up 14.8 percent in the Columbus Multiple Listing Service area, compared to increases of 8.2 percent nationally and 12.1 percent in the Midwest. While the dollar volume of Columbus MSA home sales totaled $726.8 million, or 18.1% greater than the first quarter of 2012, prices were down slightly by 0.3 percent. Home prices were down 1.0 percent at the state level and up 0.4 percent nationally. The local change ranked the Columbus Region 41st among the 64 million-plus regions in the U.S.
In the first four months of 2013, there have been 23 project announcements in the Columbus Region, yielding more than 4,000 jobs created or retained. Key expansions included SpeedFC, Inc., a leading provider of end-to-end e-commerce services, which committed to doubling its workforce with 250 new jobs. Safelite Group, Inc., the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair and replacement services, announced a $40 million investment and the addition of 350 jobs.
Additionally, the Columbus 2020 team and its local economic development partners conducted 130 visits to businesses in the Region during the first four months of 2013. Forty-eight percent of visits were to manufacturing companies, while 20 percent of visits were to headquarters and business services companies. Columbus 2020’s team also visited 16 U.S. cities and Japan as part of business development missions, industry conferences, existing headquarter visits and consultant and active project calls.
“I’m proud to see the diligent work from our team and state and local economic development partners paying off with steady employment gains and significant attraction and expansion announcements that will ensure we stay on track into the next quarter and beyond,” said Kenny McDonald, chief economic officer, Columbus 2020. “We look forward to continuing a path of growth against the aggressive goals we’ve set forth regarding boosting new capital investment, per capita income and new job opportunities.”
About Columbus 2020
Columbus 2020 is a public-private partnership that leverages the strengths of the Columbus Region’s talented workforce, small and large businesses, research and academic institutions, and international connections to ignite economic growth and build a healthier, more sustainable future for Central Ohio. The initiative grows our economy by ensuring that our existing companies are growing and thriving, that the world’s leading companies are attracted to the 11-county region, that innovations are cultivated and commercialized, and that our civic infrastructure is continually improving to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving world economy. For more information, visit ColumbusRegion.com.