Conflicting Reports on Ohio’s Economic Recovery

Nov 21, 2011

The first of the two conflicting reports comes from Team NEO—an economic development firm based in Cleveland. It says employment should return to pre-recession levels in about two years. The other study, from IHS Global Insight, says Ohio will need five years.

The Team NEO study focuses just on Northeast Ohio. Their numbers say the area added about 30-thousand jobs in the past year. The region is still down 90-thousand jobs compared to 2007. Team NEO CEO Tom Waltermire says the region should regain those jobs by the end of 2013, and the state’s manufacturing sector will lead the way.

“Our manufacturing output is expected to grow 25 percent over the next five years compared to maybe 16 or 17 percent for the U.S. So manufacturing is one of the better performing parts of the U.S. economy, and our manufacturing is expected to do even better.”

Almost one-third of new jobs in the past year were in manufacturing.

But economist Daniel Meges with Chmura Economics says Team NEO didn’t consider how demographic changes will affect the state’s recovery. He says the declining population of young people in the state will slow growth.

“Consumer spending is still a huge part of our economy, and those will slow faster in Ohio and in Michigan than say the sand states that will be getting a population that has a younger demographic.”

IHS Global’s report looks at employment numbers and industry growth for the entire state, and forecasts a five-year rebound for Ohio versus two years for the rest of the country. Meges also says those who are leaving Ohio tend to be wealthier than the rest of the population.

Reporter: Kabir Bhatia - WKSU