Columbus Region’s Q1 Economic Update Shows Slight Employment Increase, Declining Unemployment Rate

May 15, 2014

Download this press release (PDF)

Columbus, OH – The Columbus Region’s employment was up 1,800 (0.2 percent) from December to March, behind Ohio’s increase of 0.3 percent and the U.S. increase of 0.4 percent, according to the Q1 economic update report produced by Columbus 2020. Unemployment in the Region continued to decline at 4.9 percent, compared to March state and national rates of 6.1 and 6.7, respectively. The full report is available at

“Despite a harsh winter that negatively impacted many other regions and the United States as a whole, the Columbus Region’s economic activity improved during the first quarter of 2014, with the unemployment rate declining from December to March,” said Frank Wojcik, senior portfolio manager, Fifth Third Private Bank. “Because of a diverse and sustainable economic base, the Central Ohio job environment remains more constructive than many others in the nation. With total payroll employment now approaching one million, we are steadily increasing our importance as a metropolitan area.”

Other key findings from the Q1 economic update report include:

  • The Columbus Region recorded above-average gains in healthcare, leisure and government sector employment, together accounting for an increase of 5,900 jobs during the first quarter. Government accounted for 1,800 of those jobs, with the majority (1,400) specific to state government – which has driven the above-average gain of government employment since 2010.
  • Employment in the business services sector was down in the first quarter, with administrative support losing 2,300 jobs, professional and technical services (including computer services) losing 700 jobs, and corporate administration losing 200 jobs.
  • Home sales in the Columbus Multiple Listing Service (MLS) area, larger than and somewhat different than the 11-county Region, totaled 4,577 during the first quarter of 2014 – down 7 percent from Q1 2013. Sales were down 6.6 percent nationwide during the quarter, compared to 2013, and were off 9.9 percent in the Midwest, specifically.
  • Despite a lower total number of sales in the first quarter of 2014, Columbus MSA house prices in the third quarter of 2013 were up 8.8 percent from the previous year, compared to gains of 5.3 percent in Ohio and 7.6 percent at the national level. The local change ranked 33rd among the 64 million-plus population regions in the U.S.
  • Regarding Columbus 2020’s performance in the first quarter, 64 new projects were added to the pipeline and nine companies and/or their consultants were hosted for first-time visits to the Region. Of the organization’s 154 active projects at the end of March, headquarters and business services represented the majority (48 percent), followed by manufacturing (36 percent).
  • Twenty-three project announcements during the first quarter yielded 2,363 jobs created or retained. Manufacturing and logistics projects represented 43 and 26 percent of projects, respectively, while international projects comprised 17 percent.

“The Columbus Region continues to add jobs and outpace its counterparts when it comes to the unemployment rate,” said Kenny McDonald, chief economic officer, Columbus 2020. “Although there is always more progress to be made, we are proud of Columbus 2020’s active pipeline and other intentional efforts that help to keep things moving forward.”


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

Kenny McDonald

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