Monday, January 05, 2009

converging regional unemployment rates

Null Space's recent post identifying how the city of Pittsburgh's unemployment rate is shockingly lower than the Pittsburgh regional unemployment rate got me thinking - can a similar statement be said for Youngstown and the cities of Northeast Ohio?

Well, no.

But imitating Null Space's efforts, one can retrieve the unemployment rate data from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services for various jurisdictions from 2000 to the present.

Here are a few charts I threw together tonight:

Above is a chart tracking the unemployment rate of the City of Youngstown, compared to the unemployment rate for the Youngstown Metro Statistical Area (mahoning and trumbull counties in ohio, and mercer county in pennsylvania).

While the city's rate had peaked at just shy of 14 percent in mid-2002, it has since trickled down and hovered around 8 percent. Alternatively, the metro's rate has been creeping upward.

So while the metro area's unemployment rate is still below the city proper, these lines are converging.

In Cleveland's case above, a sizable gap still exists between the city and the metro.

In Akron's case however, these city vs. metro lines are blurring, especially in recent years.

Looking from metro to metro, and city to city - in both cases Youngstown has been traditionally higher in unemployment, while Akron has been the lower of the three.

Interestingly however, where Cleveland's rates have traditionally been more aligned to Akron's, today Cleveland is more on par with Youngstown, sometimes surpassing Youngstown in unemployment rates.

But the rises and falls and converging lines can definitely point to one fact - northeast ohio as a larger region rises and falls together.

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