Thousands in Cuyahoga County Losing their Jobs

     Newly released figures from the complete count of jobs in Ohio show that the state lost –204,858 jobs between the fourth quarter of 2000 and the fourth quarter of 2002. Statewide, Ohio’s job growth rate fell to –3.7%, as one out of every 27 jobs in the state disappeared during the last two years as a result of the recession.

     More than one-quarter of the jobs lost in Ohio during the last two years were lost in Cuyahoga County alone. The current two year job loss rate of –6.2% means that one out of every 16 jobs in Cuyahoga County has vanished.

     14.7% of Ohio’s jobs are in Cuyahoga County, but Cuyahoga suffered 24.6% of Ohio’s job losses during the past two years, clearly proving that the recession is hammering Cleveland more deeply than it is damaging the rest of Ohio.

     In the Cleveland-Akron-Lorain eight county metropolitan area, 67,764 jobs have disappeared during the last two years. Ohio’s largest metropolitan area had a job growth rate of –4.7% during this two year period.

     Even so-called "Recession-proof" Columbus remains mired in the recession. Franklin County lost –2.8% of its jobs during the last two years, a loss of –19,588 jobs. Indeed, 57 of Ohio’s 88 counties lost jobs between the fourth quarter of 2000 and newly available data for the fourth quarter of 2002.

     In the Cleveland area, job losses have extended well beyond Cuyahoga County. Normally growing suburban counties such as Geauga and Lake lost jobs during the last two years. Both Summit and Portage Counties lost jobs in Metropolitan Akron.

     Job statistics from the complete count of Ohio jobs are always delayed by at least six months, so more recent measures of local job losses will not be available until September 2003. In the mean time, it is known that the four week moving average of new claims for unemployment in Cuyahoga County is currently 1,401, a figure nearly twice as high as a comparable 770 figure for the spring of 1999.

     This means that more than 1,400 workers are currently being laid off every week in Cuyahoga County, even during a time of year when layoffs are normally at a relatively low level.

     The impact of the job losses on northern Ohio households is obvious. When over 6% of all Cuyahoga County jobs disappeared, incomes quickly fell in many tens of thousands of Cleveland area households as paychecks vanished. Cuyahoga County lost $141 million in real aggregate earnings payroll during just the fourth quarter of 2002.

     However, as Cuyahoga County lost jobs in very large numbers, wages continued to rise for other Cuyahoga County workers who remained employed. The average earnings of a Cuyahoga County job rose from $39,742 in the fourth quarter of 2001 to $39,937 in the fourth quarter of 2001. This one year 0.5% inflation adjusted gain in the average earnings of Cuyahoga County workers came during the same recession that caused earnings of about 50,000 local workers to plunge to zero as they lost their jobs.

     The recession has coincided with a dismantling of the "welfare" safety net that assisted job losers during prior recessions. Most Ohio counties are currently seeing a rise in their welfare caseloads, but Cuyahoga County cut its welfare caseload by –2,517 families during the same two year period of time when the county’s job total fell by –49,806. This was by far the largest mismatch between job losses in the labor market and welfare cuts of any Ohio county. Enforcement of Ohio’s three year time limit on cash welfare benefits is the main cause of this discrepancy.

     The local recession started earlier than the onset of the national United States recession. Cuyahoga County began to lose jobs during the fall of 2000, and has lost jobs continuously since then. Ohio’s statewide job losses from the recession began during the first quarter of 2001, and have continued during all quarters since then.

Editor’s Note: For additional details see the research section of the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland internet web site: http://www.ceogc.org

Copyright to the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio 2003.