This morning's Columbus 2020 announcement:

The Columbus Region added 4,000 jobs in July and August and continued to outpace state and national rates, according to thethird-quarter economic development updatereleased today by Columbus 2020, the 11-county regional economic development organization. Due to the government shutdown, the report-which contains regional economic analysis by Regionomics® LLC, as well as data supplied by Columbus 2020 and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce-does not include September figures for Ohio or the Region.

The Region has added 16,800 jobs over the past 12 months. That 1.8 percent 12-month increase also bests the state (0.6 percent) and national (1.6 percent) rates. Third-quarter unemployment in the Region held steady at 6.2 percent, equal to June's numbers and again ahead of Ohio and the U.S. (both at 7.3 percent in August). U.S. unemployment dipped slightly to 7.2 percent in September.

"The Region's employment numbers are encouraging across the board and especially so in the areas of IT, business services, finance and healthcare," said Jung Kim, director, research, Columbus 2020. "Columbus remains one of a handful of U.S. metros whose current employment surpasses its pre-recession peak."

The Region's housing numbers mostly mirrored the overall economic upswing. Building permits issued during July and August were up 27.1 percent from the same months of 2012, compared to a 15.7 percent increase nationally. The number of home sales in the Columbus Multiple Listing Service (MLS – slightly larger than the Region) increased 23.9 percent year over year compared to 14.6 percent nationally. For the quarter, Columbus MLS home sales totaled $1.433 billion, a 22.2 percent increase over the third quarter of 2012.

"Central Ohio is growing in a balanced way, and seeing growth across a number of key sectors. Project activity remains very strong and we expect that the Region's growth will continue its upward trend," said Kenny McDonald, chief economic officer, Columbus 2020.

In the first nine months of 2013, Columbus 2020 added 174 new projects to the Region's economic development pipeline and hosted 44 first-time visits from companies and/or their location consultants. Manufacturing represented 45 percent of the 128 active projects at the end of September, followed by headquarters and business services with 27 percent. Those 128 active projects reflect the organization's application of more stringent standards on how a project is classified as active.

The Columbus 2020 team visited 14 U.S. cities and Japan during the third quarter. Visits included business development missions, industry conferences, existing headquarters visits and consultant and active project calls. The Japan mission included meetings with more than 40 companies and participation in the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Annual Meeting.

The entire report is available for download at