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Leading indicators suggest gloomy jobs forecast in Akron area

By Jim Mackinnon
Beacon Journal business writer

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The latest leading economic indicators for the Greater Akron area indicate job growth will be weak or decline into early winter.

The leading indicator index for Summit and Portage counties, the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area, remained at 97.9 in August, the newest figures show. That was the same level as in July and suggests weak to declining employment growth, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said.

The Akron-area index was at 97.3 a year ago. The index remains below the base level of 100 set in 2000.

The Akron metro index showed:

• Initial claims for unemployment insurance totaled 2,436, down 8.9 percent from the previous month and down 0.7 percent from a year ago.

• Average weekly hours for manufacturing totaled 40.7, up 1 percent from the previous month but down 1.2 percent from a year ago.

• The value of housing permits was nearly $12.2 million, up 12.2 percent from the previous month and up 20.6 percent from $10.1 million a year ago.

Ohio’s index was 92, the same as in July and suggesting weak to declining job growth into early winter, the state reported. The national composite of leading indicators fell 0.1 percent to 95.7, indicating economic headwinds remain.

Elsewhere in Northeast Ohio:

• The Canton-Massillon index fell 0.2 percent to 90, indicating moderate job losses into early winter.

• The Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor index fell 0.3 percent to 87.8, suggesting job losses into the start of winter.

• The Youngstown-Warren-Boardman index fell 0.3 percent to 87.8, also indicating moderate job losses into early winter months.

Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or jmackinnon@thebeaconjournal.com.