Greater Cleveland And Canton Gaining Not Losing Jobs

Greater Cleveland and Canton Gaining, Not Losing, Jobs According to Newly Released Data

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) yesterday released its most reliable source of jobs data, the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), for the quarter ending September 2013. It shows that the 18-county Northeast Ohio region gained an average of more than 9,900 jobs in Q3 2013, marking the 13th consecutive quarter of year-over-year job growth. The Greater Cleveland area gained an average of almost 7,000 jobs from Q3 2012 to Q3 2013. During the same period, Canton gained an average of more than 2,300 jobs followed by Akron with 862. Youngstown lost, on average, fewer than 600 jobs.

This is in stark contrast to the monthly jobs report also issued by the BLS, but based on Current Employment Statistics (CES), which has indicated, since May, that Greater Cleveland is losing more jobs than any other metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the nation. Conversely, it reported that Akron had gained more than 6,000 jobs in July and August. The QCEW data show a more modest gain of 930 jobs.  Due to the federal government shutdown in August, the CES did not release data for September, but a comparison of the data from these two sources (CES and QCEW) for July and August for the four MSAs show marked discrepancies. Even the direction of the change was incorrect for three out of the four MSAs:

MSAINITIAL CES QCEW
 Akron 6,100 930
 Canton -2,100 2,589
 Cleveland -6,300 7,669
 Youngstown 700 -578

Source:  Team NEO based on Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data

“The CES data is based on a survey of only 6% of all US establishments – a small sample with high error rates,” explains Jacob Duritsky, managing director, research, Team NEO.  “While directionally reliable at the national level, at the metropolitan level the data are unreliable and often misleading. Media, business and community leaders should focus on the QCEW results, which are based on actual unemployment insurance filings provided by 98% of employers in the US.  It is the most accurate source of jobs data though not the most immediate. QCEW data lag by 7 to 10 months, so it is often unreported.”

Earlier this month, representatives from Team NEO and the Greater Cleveland Partnership traveled to Washington, DC and met with the legislative staffs of Northeast Ohio’s congressional representatives to highlight the issues with the CES data and enlist their support in encouraging the federal government to develop a process that will produce data that is both reliable and timely.