Cincinnati Is Dayton's Savior, Says Economist Richard Stock

May 22, 2014

View of Cincinnati from the mouth of the Licking River. Economist Richard Stock says more and more people are taking the trip down I-75 for work.
Credit Robert S. Donovan / Flickr/Creative Commons

Ohio’s unemployment rate for April came out late last week, and it’s as low as it’s been since 2008 at 5.7 percent. It’s also nearly half a percent lower than the rate reported for March, despite relatively slow job growth.

Richard Stock, head of the Business Research Group at the University of Dayton, talked to WYSO about what the latest state and local numbers might mean—he calls himself a “typically grim economist,” but he says even though Dayton’s workforce is still shrinking, even he can admit the area’s seen some good news lately in the form of major jobs announcements and a lower unemployment rate (although, as we’ve noted before, area-wide unemployment rates can disguise local inequalities).

Stock cites the slowing of sequestration cuts and the loss of government jobs, as well as a gradual return of certain industries, for Dayton’s better job outlook after a long period of stagnancy.

But Stock also points to Cincinnati as the best metro area in the state for job growth, and says increasing numbers of people are probably taking the trip south on I-75 for work. He thinks differences in industrial mix, as opposed to specific policy measures, are likely the cause of regional differences in unemployment rates.

Under Construction is WYSO’s series on growth in the greater Dayton area. We dig underneath the physical and economic markers of growth to look at the human consequences. Check back Thursdays for new installments.    

Lewis Wallace is WYSO's economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.