The outlook going forward is positive as well. Jobs are being created locally as homegrown businesses are expanding, the 1,000+ casino jobs are in full swing and even our tourism industry is thriving . Jobs are coming from outside the area too, as Cleveland is attracting national and international companies to relocate their workforce here. Expect to see more companies relocating jobs to Cleveland as this area has a low cost of living, a competent workforce and is even competitive on taxes.
Also aiding the local recovery is a strongly improving Ohio economy. The statewide jobless rate fell to 7.2%, comparable to the nationwide rate of 8.1%. And three Ohio cities, Columbus(5.9%), Cincinnati (6.7%), Cleveland (6.9%) are in the top 11 large metro areas ranked by unemployment rate. Ohio is one of the states that his helping to lead the nation toward significant, sustained, economic growth. Simply amazing.
This contrasts with a more common, if badly outdated, impression that Cleveland and Ohio are laggards. However, many large cities would envy our job growth. Cities like Orlando (8.7%), Atlanta (8.9%), New York (9.1%), Los Angeles (10.3%) and Las Vegas (12.3%) would love to swap unemployment rates. And this isn’t a one time blip in the numbers either. Cleveland has done relatively better then most large cities since the recession in 2008.
Total employment levels are still below their all time highs, and national data suggests many people are underemployed and underpaid. There is still a very long way to go. But many in Cleveland would have suspected we’d exit a recession with double digit unemployment, the loss of major employers and cities on the brink of bankruptcy. But the truth is quite the opposite. Imagine how much better this town could do with a healthy dose of economic optimism based on the healthy fundamentals we’re starting to see.