Sunday’s Big Game matchup scores some surprising touchdowns
This Sunday all eyes will be on Super Bowl XLVI as the New York Giants battle the New England Patriots in Indianapolis. New York, Boston, and Indianapolis are all super cities, but how about Columbus? Comparing the four cities using U.S. Census Bureau data, Columbus shows some quick maneuverability to score some touchdowns against the other cities.
In terms of total population, New York has been victorious even longer than has a certain baseball team located there. With more than 8 million residents, it is by far the nation’s largest city, but perhaps surprisingly, Indianapolis (12th largest) and Columbus (15th largest) both beat out 22nd-ranked Boston. In fact, Columbus boasts nearly 170,000 more residents than does Boston.
In terms of population growth, though, there is no contest. The population of Columbus increased 10.6 percent between 2000 and 2010, more than twice the growth rate of Boston and Indianapolis, five times the growth rate of New York, and greater than the growth of the U.S. as a whole. Columbus rushes 60 yards to a touchdown.
Columbus also scores in the percentage of adults with at least a high school diploma – 88.4 percent. But Boston scores in college degrees, with 44 percent of adults holding at least a bachelor’s, but Columbus beats out Indianapolis, 32 percent to 27 percent. A priority for next year’s training camp is to work on conversions – of high school diplomas to college degrees.
Nimble Columbus also scores a touchdown in commute time. The 21 minutes commuters in Columbus spend getting to and from work is a minute less each way than in Indianapolis, eight minutes less than in Boston, and nearly 18 minutes less than in New York. Over a 245-day work year, Columbus commuters save 10 hours over Indianapolis commuters, 60 hours over Boston commuters, and 145 hours – six full days – over New York commuters.
Columbus and Indianapolis both trounce New York and Boston in homeownership, but Indianapolis edges out Columbus. Affordability is what gives our two cities the edge. It takes more than 10 years of the typical New York household’s income to buy the typical dwelling (which is almost certain to be an apartment or row house) and seven years of income in Boston, but only a little more than three years
of income in Indianapolis and Columbus. The 3.1 years in Indianapolis is not statistically different from the 3.3 years in Columbus – in other words, a split decision.
The odds-makers had New York demolishing the competition in retail sales per capita. But in an amazing upset, Columbus comes out far ahead. With more than $16,000 per person in 2007, we smash both New York and Boston, and edge out Indianapolis.
Put Columbus in some super company and we hold our own. Enjoy the game!
One of the under-reported stories of the employment recovery that began early last year is the first sustained growth in manufacturing employment in a decade and the strongest growth in 15 years or more. (The reasons for that are a topic for a future post.) U.S. manufacturing employment is up 2.4 percent since the beginning of 2010 and Ohio has been even stronger — up 3.1 percent. This strength has spread to other sectors of the state’s economy, including wholesale trade and business services, with the result that Ohio’s overall net job growth has been 1.9 percent, better than the Columbus MSA’s 1.7 percent and the 1.6 percent national average.
But the Columbus MSA’s manufacturing sector has been a real wallflower; employment as of September was a quarter percent lower than it was in January 2010. What is the problem? The job numbers that we get every month from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics aren’t nearly detailed enough to give us an answer, but another BLS series comes to the rescue: the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. This is an extremely detailed count of jobs down to the county level. These numbers are only available annually for detailed industries, but we can get at an answer by comparing 2010 employment (the first year of the recovery) to that in 2009 (the last year of the slump).
The table below shows the results. Even though this comparison fails to pick up the employment revival, it still shows Ohio better than the U.S. average and Columbus worse. Looking down these comparisons, there is some good news — notably in chemicals, plastics, and nonmetallic mineral (e.g., glass and clay) products. Each of these is an economic driver for the Columbus economy. On the other hand, there are several industry groups with double-digit percentage losses locally. But as the numerical changes reveal, these are generally small industries that don’t have a great impact. But transportation equipment manufacturing is different. It is our single largest manufacturing driver with nearly 13,000 jobs in the region (not counting those just over the Logan County line). But it has been seriously underperforming and is responsible for nearly half of the region’s manufacturing job decline. Ohio, on the other hand, did far better than average. (Recall that this was before the Japanese tragedy disrupted supply chains.) If not for this one industry, the Columbus MSA’s job loss would have been equal to the national average.
There are 71 transportation equipment plants in the MSA; this industry contributed nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars of wages to our region’s economy in 2010. I hope that those responsible for business retention efforts in our region will engage with these firms to learn the reasons for their lack of employment growth and what we as a community can do to help.
The Columbus Dispatch reported today on the September employment and labor market stats for the Columbus metro area. These are drawn from two independent surveys — one directed at households (Did you work last month?) and one directed at business establishments (How many people did you employ last month?). The results from these two surveys are not always consistent but last month they were. Once the totals are adjusted for the fact that summer jobs ended and people went back to school, they show that the labor market improved: 3,600 net new jobs in the region, 5,900 more residents working, and 4,200 more people in the labor force. The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate ticked down to 7.7% from 7.9%. (Ohio and the U.S. both held steady at 9.1%.)
It is easy to get much more excited about these results than we should. There is a great deal of bounce from month to month in these numbers; they are drawn from distressingly small samples and localized through econometric alchemy (don’t ask). The 3,600-job gain in September only partially offset a 6,000-job loss the month before. For the year so far, we are up only 1,100 net jobs — slower growth than last year. There are some bright spots: construction has added 3,000 jobs since last December; financial activities are up 3,200; business services are up 1,600 (two-thirds of that in IT firms); and retail is up 1,400. But leisure is down 2,300 jobs; government is down 2,000; and healthcare and private education are off 2,100. (In this last case, the news is not quite so bad: education and healthcare stumbled badly late last year and early this and is now recovering nicely.)
What we need (among other things) is for the European debt situation to be resolved — Europe is a major market for U.S. goods and services — and for consumer and business confidence to improve. Barring some unexpected burst of very good news, that will take time.