Columbus regional employment outlook strong for 2015

Kitty McConnell

Columbus 2020 issued a regional employment outlook based on its Q4 2014 report, released today. The 2015 employment projections are positive based on strong numbers from Q4, says Kenny McDonald, 2020's chief economic officer. The report's key findings:

Region unemployment rates fell to 4.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, well below state and national rates of 4.8 and 5.6 percent, respectively, and comfortably below pre-recession levels. The data from Columbus 2020's Q4 Economic Update released today showed the addition of 12,300 jobs since September-a 1.3 percent increase for the quarter and capping an overall increase of 0.8 percent in 2014.

The fourth-quarter performance marked an improvement over a somewhat sluggish third quarter and reflected strong rebounds for a number of key sectors. Government (up 2.6 percent), logistics (2.0 percent), leisure and hospitality (1.8 percent), healthcare and social assistance (1.6 percent) and professional and business services (0.9 percent) all recorded gains in Q4. The full report is available at ColumbusRegion.com/reports.

Another encouraging indicator from the report was the Region's continued increase in Per-Capita Personal Income (PCPI). Regional PCPI in 2013 was $43,662, an 8.7 percent increase since 2009 that far exceeded the 5.9 percent U.S. average.Columbus trails the U.S. average PCPI by 2.8 percent.

Other key findings from the Q4 economic update include:

    • About two-thirds of the employment gain in the logistics sector was in wholesale trade, while much of the gain in professional and business services was in the professional, scientific and technical servicessub sector.
    • Rickenbacker International Airport handled about 50 million pounds of cargo in Q4, a four-year high for any quarter and almost 20 percent more than the same period in 2013.
    • In 2014, there were 104 project announcements in the Columbus Region, yielding 7,696 new jobs. Headquarters and business services represented 42 percent of those projects, a share 10 percent higher than 2013. International projects comprised 27 percent of 2014 announcements, higher than the 20 percent average of previous years.