A new look at metropolitan Toledo’s economy by a group of PNC economists is projecting steady job growth through 2014, though not to the level seen in 2012.
In the report released Friday, PNC Financial Services Group said continued strength in U.S. auto sales will help the region hang onto recent employment gains in manufacturing. However, the report said the industry is likely to contribute less to overall growth going forward than it has coming out of the recession so far.
PNC forecasts 0.6 percent employment growth for the rest of 2013, and 1 percent employment growth in 2014. The unemployment rate, which stood at 7.9 percent in 2012, isn’t expected to drop much, as more people re-enter the labor force. PNC is forecasting no change in 2013, with a slight drop to 7.7 percent for 2014.
“Modest job growth will likely barely keep pace with discouraged workers re-entering the labor force. Hence, we see the unemployment rate averaging about the same in 2013 as in 2012 with the rate beginning a slow descent in 2014,” the report said.
PNC said that income growth in the area has been dampened because much of the job growth has been in lower-wage segments. Also, because the cuts in well-paying manufacturing jobs were so drastic earlier this decade, the economists who prepared the report anticipate it will take some time for incomes to recover. PNC is forecasting a modest 1.4 percent growth in personal income this year with a 3.6 percent increase next year.
Though housing prices are expected to recover more modestly in Toledo than in the nation as a whole, PNC’s economists believe that prices in metro Toledo are on a sustained upward trajectory. Still, the report cautioned that low levels of residential construction are expected for at least the next year.
The report covers economic activity in Lucas, Fulton, Ottawa, and Wood counties.
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