Employment growth in the region will outpace U.S. job growth for the ninth-straight year in 2016, economist Bill LaFayette predicted in his annual forecast.
Central Ohio will add 22,400 jobs this year, a 2.2 percent increase from 1.037 million at the end of 2015, LaFayette said at a Columbus Metropolitan Clubforum Wednesday. That’s down from growth of 2.3 percent in the region last year, but stronger than the country’s 1.8 percent 2016 estimate.
LaFayette, owner of the economic and work-force consulting firm Regionomics LLC, believes Central Ohio’s employment gain of 22,000 jobs last year will be adjusted 1,000 or 2,000 higher in March when annual revisions are made to federal data.
To be sure, Central Ohio’s performance relative to the U.S. last year and in 2016 is based on estimates. But LaFayette, who has been making his forecast for 17 years, said the region has undoubtedly outperformed the country as a whole over a longer period.
Of the 22,400 jobs LaFayette expects to be added this year, he anticipates the top sectors will be education and health services, adding 6,800, and professional and business services, at 5,600.
The U.S. will add about 200,000 jobs per month in 2016 and the unemployment rate will edge down to 4.5 percent or so from 5 percent, said Ben Ayers, a senior economist with Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. who shared national predictions Wednesday.
U.S. employment grew an estimated 2.1 percent last year.
Source: Columbus Business First. Written by Evan Weese, Staff reporter