COLUMBUS, OH – Columbus 2020, the Columbus Region’s 11-county regional economic development entity, today released its economic update for the third quarter of 2012. The report includes regional economic analysis by RegionomicsTM LLC as well as data supplied by Columbus 2020.
Employment in the Columbus MSA rose moderately in the third quarter, compared to the first six months of the year, with the Region gaining 3,000 jobs (0.3 percent), which was equal the national increase but higher than the state increase of less than 0.1 percent. The Region’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.8 percent in September, besting the 7 percent Ohio rate and a 7.8 percent national rate.
“While increases in employment were slightly slower compared to the first half of the year, overall growth in the first nine months was 2.4 for the region, well above state and national averages,” said Bill LaFayette, Ph.D., owner of Regionomics LLC. “As these gains align with employment opportunities within the Columbus Region’s sectors, we know that there is still an indication of the unemployed looking to rejoin the workforce.”
Industries experiencing greater-than-average employment growth include computer services (2.9 percent), healthcare (1.6 percent) and government (1.6 percent) – the majority of which are above Ohio and national growth in the same sectors. The 2,400 gain in government employment offset job loss within the Region, and that growth was centered in local government education.
The housing and real estate market within the Region also improved sharply, as building permits were issued for 1,586 residential units during the third quarter, up 62 percent from the same period in 2011 and compared to the national increase of 20 percent. Home sales in the Region were up 8 percent for the quarter and up 7.8 percent from last year. Nationally, home sales during the quarter were up 8.5 percent from last year and up 15.6 percent in the Midwest. However, housing prices in the Region continued to show a modest decline.
“The numbers within this report and the increase in job growth during the first nine months of this year is great news for residents within the Columbus Region,” said Kenny McDonald, chief economic officer, Columbus 2020. “Our team continues to pursue opportunities to attract and expand employers so we can continue this momentum through the end of this year and into 2013.”
Columbus 2020 continued ambitious activity through the third quarter, with 221 projects started year to date – a 69 percent increase in 2011 activity. There were more than 60 first-time visits to the Columbus Region by companies located outside the MSA, a 54 percent increase in visits compared to 2011. Since the beginning of the year, about 60 percent of projects are new to the Region and the remaining 40 percent are categorized as existing project expansion.
The complete third quarter economic update, including comprehensive data and information about Columbus 2020’s progress, is available at www.ColumbusRegion.com.
About Columbus 2020
Columbus 2020 is a bold 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.