It should be a bit easier to find a job this summer in the Greater Akron area and other parts of Northeast Ohio compared to a year ago.
The latest leading indicator index for the two-county Akron metropolitan area rose in April, according to figures released Friday by the state. This is the fourth straight month the Akron-area index has gone up.
The rise from 99.3 points in March to 99.6 in April suggests continued job growth the next several months. The index, which measures key economic indicators in Summit and Portage counties, was at 98.2 a year ago.
The Ohio leading indicator index rose 0.1 point from March to 92.7 in April. The statewide index was at 92.1 a year ago. The small rise suggests statewide jobs growth will be slow in coming months.
The Akron area and Ohio indexes remained below their base levels of 100 set in 2000.
The national composite of leading economic indicators rose 0.6 point to 95 in April. The broad index is up from 92.9 in April 2012.
The national index remains below its base level of 100 set in 1996.
The Akron metro index components in April showed:
• Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 9.2 percent from 2,661 in March to 2,415 in April. A year ago, there were 2,446 claims.
• Average weekly hours for manufacturing fell from 41.8 in March to 41.6 in April and were down from 41.8 hours a year ago.
• The value of housing permits fell from more than $11.1 million to $10.5 million in April. A year ago, the value of housing permits was $7.9 million.
In other parts of Northeast Ohio:
• The Canton-Massillon leading indicator index rose 0.4 point from March to 90.2 in April. That suggests continuing job growth in upcoming months. The index was at 89.1 a year ago.
• The Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor leading indicator index rose 0.3 point to 90.9 in April, suggesting job growth will continue. The index was at 89.9 in April 2012.
• The Youngstown-Warren-Boardman leading index rose from 88.6 in March to 89 in April. That means there likely will be higher jobs growth in coming months. The index was at 88.4 a year ago.
The latest weekly statewide unemployment claims unfortunately show that there is continued jobs destruction in Ohio, according to George Zeller, Cleveland economic researcher, who wrote about the statistics in a note Friday. Weekly unemployment claims provide a nearly “real time” look at what is happening in the economy.
The monthly leading economic indicator indexes use a month’s worth of unemployment claims, not weekly figures.
Only the Youngstown-Warren area out of Ohio’s seven large urban areas showed a decrease in weekly unemployment to a level that indicates jobs growth, Zeller said.
The pace of Ohio’s economic recovery remains too slow, Zeller said.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or email@example.com