The Midwest Beat the South in Regional Domestic Migration in 2016

For years, if not decades, we’ve been hearing a familiar tale- that anyone and everyone is moving from the Midwest and Northeast to the South and West. This trend began during and after the collapse of Northern manufacturing, and as higher cost of living began to make the lower-cost South more attractive in particular. However, a lot of the South’s growth over the years- indeed a majority- never had anything to do with region-to-region migration. Instead, it was due largely to natural growth (births vs. deaths) and international migration, particularly from Central America. What received all the attention, though, was the belief that people were packing up and moving to the South from places like Ohio and other struggling Northern states. While that may have been true for a while, that is increasingly looking like it is no longer the case.

The Midwest, especially, has been derided as the region no one wants to live in. Despite its growing population approaching 66 million people, the common refrain was that its colder winters, flailing economies and questionable demographic future meant that it was simply a region being left behind by the booming Southern states.

Recently, the US Census released estimates for 2015-2016 geographic mobility, and they tell a very different story altogether.

First, let’s look at the total domestic migration moving to the Midwest from other regions.
South to Midwest: +309,000
West to Midwest: +72,000
Northeast to Midwest: +61,000
Total to Midwest: +442,000

And then compare that to the total that the Midwest sends to other regions.
Midwest to South: -254,000
Midwest to West: -224,000
Midwest to Northeast: -34,000
Total from Midwest: -512,000

Net difference by region.
Midwest vs. South: +55,000
Midwest vs. West: -152,000
Midwest vs. Northeast: +27,000
Total Net: -70,000

So while the Midwest is seeing and overall net domestic migration loss, it is entirely to the Western states.

This could just be an off year, as almost all recent years showed losses to the South, but then again, maybe not. The South has been in a boom for several decades now, and in that time, the region still lags the other 3 in almost every quality of life metric used. All booms end eventually, and the South’s 2 biggest perceived advantages, low cost of living and business-friendly climate, have been gradually eroding over time. As Census surveys show, people don’t actually move for a change in weather, so it’s the economic factors that are going to make the biggest impacts long-term. The Midwest now has many cities and several states that are doing well economically, including Columbus, and perhaps they are becoming more attractive than they have in many years. Time will tell, but last year, the narrative of an unattractive Midwest vs. South was at least temporarily shelved.

Columbus Metro’s GDP vs. the Midwest and National Peers

**Originally posted on 7/22/2014, updated 9/20/2016.

Rank of Major Midwest Metros and Columbus National Peers by GDP, 2001, 2010 and 2015
In Millions
2001——————————————–2010————————————-2015
1. Chicago, IL: $416,444————-1. Chicago: $533,825————–1. Chicago: $640,656
2. Detroit, MI: $190,921———–2. Minneapolis: $199,606——-2. Minneapolis: $248,779
3. Minneapolis, MN: $148,192—–3. Detroit: $197,973—————–3. Detroit: $245,607
4. San Jose, CA: $125,037———4. San Jose: $163,836———–4. San Jose: $235,222
5. St. Louis, MO: $102,385———5. Portland: $141,233————5. Portland: $158,770
6. Pittsburgh, PA: $88,769———-6. St. Louis: $133,888———6. St. Louis: $155,077
7. Cleveland: $87,796————-7. Pittsburgh: $117,895———-7. Charlotte: $152,447
8. Portland, OR: $80,753———8. Charlotte: $114,500————8. Pittsburgh: $138,873
9. Cincinnati: $79,638————-9. Indianapolis: $111,084——-9. Indianapolis: $134,081
10. Kansas City, MO: $79,544—-10. Cleveland: $109,365—–10. Cleveland: $128,448
11. Charlotte, NC $78,675———11. Kansas City: $107,265—11. Cincinnati: $127,057
12. Indianapolis, IN: $78,009——-12. Cincinnati: $104,314—-12. Kansas City: $125,618
13. Columbus: $74,172————-13. Orlando: $101,307——–13. Columbus: $124,381
14. Sacramento, CA: $66,696—–14. Columbus: $96,475——14. Orlando: $121,329
15. Orlando, FL: $66,644———–15. Sacramento: $96,015—-15. Austin: $119,949
16. Milwaukee, WI: $65,033——–16. Austin: $87,473———-16. Sacramento: $118,822
17. Nashville, TN: $58,245———17. Milwaukee: $86,569—–17. Nashville: $113,680
18. Las Vegas, NV: $57,035——-18. Las Vegas: $85,020—–18. San Antonio: $108,879
19. Virginia Beach, VA: $54,040—-19. Nashville: $84,804—19. Las Vegas: $103,343
20. Austin, TX: $53,915——20. Virginia Beach: $82,685—–20. Milwaukee: $102,209
21. San Antonio, TX: $53,248—21. San Antonio: $81,722—21. Virginia Beach: $95,680
22. Providence, RI: $49,997——-22. Providence: $67,754—-22. Providence: $78,694
23. Grand Rapids, MI: $35,248—-23. Omaha: $47,711——-23. Omaha: $59,090
24. Omaha, NE: $32,044——–24. Grand Rapids: $41,221–24. Grand Rapids: $53,949
25. Dayton: $29,658————–25. Dayton: $34,226————25. Dayton: $39,206
26. Toledo: $22,216————–26. Akron: $28,628————–26. Akron: $34,419
27. Akron: $21,684—————27. Toledo: $27,158————-27. Toledo: $34,019
28. Youngstown: $15,314——28. Youngstown: $17,293——28. Youngstown: $21,417

Rank by Total Change in Millions 2001-2015
1. Chicago: +$224,212
2. San Jose: +$110,185
3. Minneapolis: +$100,587
4. Portland: +$78,017
5. Charlotte: +$73,772
6. Austin: +$66,034
7. Indianapolis: +$56,072
8. San Antonio: +$55,631
9. Nashville: +$55,435
10. Detroit: +$54,686
11. Orlando: +$54,685
12. St. Louis: +$52,692
13. Sacramento: +$52,126
14. Columbus: +$50,209
15. Pittsburgh: +$50,104
16. Cincinnati: +$47,419
17. Las Vegas: +$46,308
18. Kansas City: +$46,074
19. Virginia Beach: +$41,640
20. Cleveland: +$40,652
21. Milwaukee: +$37,176
22. Providence: +$28,697
23. Omaha: +$27,046
24. Grand Rapids: +$18,701
25. Akron: +$12,735
26. Toledo: +$11,803
27. Dayton: +$9,548
28. Youngstown: +$6,103

Rank by Total Change in Millions 2010-2015
1. Chicago: +$106,831
2. San Jose: +$71,386
3. Minneapolis: +$49,173
4. Detroit: +$47,634
5. Charlotte: +$37,947
6. Austin: +$32,476
7. Nashville: $28,876
8. Columbus: +$27,906
9. San Antonio: +$27,157
10. Indianapolis +$22,997
11. Sacramento: +$22,807
12. Cincinnati: +$22,743
13. St. Louis: +$21,189
14. Pittsburgh: +$20,978
15. Orlando: +$20,022
16. Cleveland: +$19,083
17. Kansas City: +$18,353
18. Las Vegas: +$18,323
19. Portland: +$17,537
20. Milwaukee: +$15,640
21. Virginia Beach: +$12,995
22. Grand Rapids: +$12,728
23. Omaha: +$11,379
24. Providence: +$10,940
25. Toledo: +$6,861
26. Akron: +$5,791
27. Dayton: +$4,980
28. Youngstown: +$4,124

Total Rank by % Change 2001-2015
1. Austin: +122.48%
2. San Antonio: +104.48%
3. Portland: +96.61%
4. Nashville: +95.18%
5. Charlotte: +93.77%
6. San Jose: +88.12%
7. Omaha: +84.40%
8. Orlando: +82.06%
9. Las Vegas: +81.19%
10. Sacramento: +78.15%
11. Virginia Beach: +77.05%
12. Indianapolis: +71.88%
13. Minneapolis: +67.88%
14. Columbus: +67.69%
15. Cincinnati: +59.54%
16. Akron: +58.73%
17. Kansas City: +57.92%
18. Providence: +57.40%
19. Milwaukee: +57.16%
20. Pittsburgh: +56.44%
21. Chicago: +53.84%
22. Toledo: +53.13%
23. Grand Rapids: +53.06%
24. St. Louis: +51.46%
25. Cleveland: +46.30%
26. Youngstown: +39.85%
27. Dayton: +32.19%
28. Detroit: +28.64%

Total Rank by % Change 2010-2015
1. San Jose: +43.57%
2. Austin: +37.13%
3. Nashville: +34.05%
4. San Antonio: +33.23%
5. Charlotte: +33.14%
6. Grand Rapids: +30.88%
7. Columbus: +28.93%
8. Toledo: +25.26%
9. Minneapolis: +24.64%
10. Detroit: +24.06%
11. Omaha: +23.85%
12. Youngstown: +23.85%
13. Sacramento: +23.75%
14. Cincinnati: +21.80%
15. Las Vegas: +21.55%
16. Indianapolis: +20.70%
17. Akron: +20.23%
18. Chicago: +20.01%
19. Orlando: +19.76%
20. Milwaukee: +18.07%
21. Pittsburgh: +17.79%
22. Cleveland: +17.45%
23. Kansas City: +17.11%
24. Providence: +16.15%
25. St. Louis: +15.83%
26. Virginia Beach: +15.72%
27. Dayton: +14.55%
28. Portland: +12.42%

Finally, let’s take a look at per-capita GDP and income.

Rank of Metros by Per-Capita GDP in Dollars, 2015
1. San Jose: $112,851
2. Minneapolis: $63,474
3. Portland: $62,229
4. Chicago: $59,688
5. Indianapolis: $59,479
6. Milwaukee: $58,219
7. Omaha: $57,334
8. Cleveland: $56,013
9. Nashville: $55,841
10. Charlotte: $55,610
11. Pittsburgh: $55,335
12. Austin: $55,323
13. Columbus: $55,005
14. Kansas City: $54,097
15. Cincinnati: $52,649
16. Detroit: $51,428
17. Virginia Beach: $49,606
18. Toledo: $49,428
19. St. Louis: $49,258
20. Sacramento: $46,697
21. Grand Rapids: $46,677
22. Orlando: $45,756
23. Akron: $44,246
24. Dayton: $43,748
25. Providence: $43,744
26. Las Vegas: $43,476
27. San Antonio: $42,169
28. Youngstown: $34,960

Total Growth 2001-2015 by Rank, in Dollars
1. San Jose: +$40,677
2. Portland: +$18,225
3. Pittsburgh: +$10,064
4. Austin: +$9,925
5. Toledo: +$7,414
6. Virginia Beach: +$7,256
7. Nashville: +$7,071
8. Cleveland: +$6,767
9. Milwaukee: +$6,744
10. Omaha: +$6,581
11. Akron: +$6,167
12. Minneapolis: +$5,900
13. Providence: +$5,560
14. Chicago: +4,663
15. San Antonio: +$4,652
16. Cincinnati: +$4,426
17. Youngstown: +$4,391
18. Sacramento: +$3,210
19. Columbus: +$3,182
20. Indianapolis: +$2,984
21. Grand Rapids: +$2,971
22. Charlotte: +$2,880
23. Kansas City: +$2,770
24. St. Louis: +$2,699
25. Detroit: +$2,011
26. Dayton: +$162
27. Orlando: -$1,630
28. Las Vegas: -$5,041

Total Per-Capita GDP Growth 2010-2015, in Dollars
1. San Jose: +$23,814
2. Toledo: +$6,242
3. Pittsburgh: +$6,172
4. Nashville: +$5,643
5. Detroit: +$5,459
6. Austin: +$5,307
7. Grand Rapids: +$5,158
8. Youngstown: +$4,987
9. San Antonio: +$4,878
10. Columbus: +$4,864
11. Minneapolis: +$4,644
12. Charlotte: +$4,578
13. Chicago: +$4,004
14. Cleveland: +$3,992
15. Cincinnati: +$3,986
16. Akron: +$3,774
17. Milwaukee: +$2,913
18. Omaha: +$2,863
19. Sacramento: +$2,680
20. Providence: +$1,902
21. St. Louis: +$1,884
22. Dayton: +$1,439
23. Kansas City: +$1,270
24. Indianapolis: +$1,186
25. Virginia Beach: +$998
26. Las Vegas: +$206
27. Portland: -$992
28. Orlando: -$1,345

What the numbers suggest is that Columbus was performing at a middle-mediocre level in the first half of the 2001-2015 period, and has generally been performing significantly better in the latter half. In Ohio, Columbus is poised to become Ohio’s largest metro economy over the next few years.

The Real Makeup of the Columbus Economy

Over the years, there have been endless claims about how the Columbus economy is dominated by jobs related to state government and OSU. These claims are usually made from other Ohioans complaining that Columbus has an unfair advantage and is mooching public dollars from the rest of the state to prop up the economy.

Let’s first address two points made: 1. That the number of government jobs is far above what they are in all other major Ohio cities, and 2. That overall, government jobs are becoming a larger slice of the metro economy.

The first claim is easy to look into. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, produces numbers every single month on job industry numbers by metro area. The most recent numbers are from June 2016.
Here are the total government jobs for Ohio’s largest cities.

Columbus: 162,600
Cleveland: 138,800
Cincinnati: 124,200
Dayton: 62,300
Toledo: 44,800
Akron: 40,600

So as to the first claim, that the total of government jobs in Columbus is higher than the other cities, that is true. As the state capital, this is no surprise. However, how dependent on government jobs is Columbus really versus those other cities? To find out, you have to divide government jobs by all total jobs within the metro. In June 2016, here was the percentage of the total.

Dayton: 16.17%
Columbus: 15.30%
Toledo: 14.21%
Cleveland: 12.90%
Akron: 11.84%
Cincinnati: 11.43%

Interestingly enough, Columbus is not the top government-dependent city. That spot goes to Dayton.

Now onto the 2nd claim- that Columbus is increasingly reliant on those government jobs. Let’s look at the % of total jobs that government jobs made up going back to 1990. The figures are for June of each year given.

1990: 17.97%
1995: 17.25%
2000: 15.97%
2005: 17.18%
2010: 17.81%
2015: 15.34%
2016: 15.30%

So it does not appear that Columbus has become more or less dependent on government jobs over the last 26 years. Indeed, if there is any pattern at all, it appears that during economic downturns, the number of government jobs increase, and during periods of stability/recovery, government jobs decline. The early 1990s and late 2000s had high levels of governments jobs, both periods of recession. In June 2016, nearly 85% of the local economy was not government-related, not statistically much different than other Ohio cities.

Finally, let’s look at how total government jobs have changed since the beginning of this decade, 2010, by Ohio city. The figures are for June 2010 and June 2016.

Toledo: +2.75%
Columbus: -0.91%
Cleveland: -1.56%
Cincinnati: -3.72%
Dayton: -4.30%
Akron: -10.38%

All cities except Toledo have seen declines.

So that brings us to the actual makeup of the Columbus metro economy. What are the industries that most people work for? What are the industries that have the greatest % of the total jobs? Let’s compare June 1990 and June 2016.

1990
Trade/Transportation/Utilities: 20.51%
Government: 17.97%
Manufacturing: 13.49%
Professional and Business Services: 11.46%
Health and Education: 9.41%
Leisure and Hospitality: 8.63%
Financial Activities: 8.26%
Mining/Logging/Construction: 4.30%
Other Services: 3.46%
Information: 2.51%

2016
Trade/Transportation/Utilities: 18.37%
Professional and Business Services: 17.11%
Government: 15.30%
Health and Education: 14.43%
Leisure and Hospitality: 10.89%
Financial Activities: 7.63%
Manufacturing: 6.84%
Other Services: 4.10%
Mining/Logging/Construction: 3.75%
Information: 1.57%

If anything, Columbus’ economy is actually more diverse in 2016 than it was in 1990, not less.




State GDP 2014

New state-level GDP figures were recently released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Where does Ohio stand?

First, let’s look at the top 20 states for total GDP in 2014

2014 Total, in Millions
1. California: 2,311,616
2. Texas: 1,648,036
3. New York: 1,404,518
4. Florida: 839,944
5. Illinois: 745,875
6. Pennsylvania: 662,890
7. Ohio: 583,261
8. New Jersey: 549,099
9. North Carolina: 483,126
10. Georgia: 476,483
11. Virginia: 463,613
12. Massachusetts: 459,937
13. Michigan: 451,516
14. Washington: 427,052
15. Maryland: 348,631
16. Indiana: 317,840
17. Minnesota: 316,204
18. Colorado: 306,663
19. Tennessee: 300,604
20. Wisconsin: 292,891

Ohio maintained its 7th-place position through 2014.
Now let’s look at the 20 states that had the biggest increases.

Total GDP Growth in Millions 2013-2014
1. California: +98,625
2. Texas: +90,843
3. New York: +62,927
4. Florida: +39,247
5. Pennsylvania: +22,596
6. Illinois: +21,080
7. Ohio: +20,416
8. Georgia: +20,000
9. Washington: +19,892
10. Massachusetts: +18,470
11. Colorado: +18,325
12. Michigan: +16,842
13. North Carolina: +16,051
14. New Jersey: +11,703
15. Oregon: +10,810
16. Tennessee: +10,479
17. Arizona: +9,422
18. Maryland: +9,222
19. Minnesota: +8,934
20. Virginia: +8,629

So Ohio is growing at the same position as its overall ranking. No states below it are set to pass it anytime in the near future. In fact, the gap is widening from its nearest threats.

What about per-capita GDP, which is a measure of the state’s total GDP divided by its population?

Per-Capita GDP, in Dollars 2014
1. Alaska: 66,160
2. North Dakota: 65,225
3. New York: 64,818
4. Connecticut: 64,676
5. Wyoming: 64,309
6. Massachusetts: 63,005
7. Delaware: 60,551
8. New Jersey: 56,405
9. Washington: 55,298
10. California: 54,462
11. Texas: 54,433
12. Maryland: 53,759
13. Illinois: 52,827
14. Minnesota: 52,801
15. Nebraska: 52,724
16. Colorado: 52,214
17. Virginia: 51,338
18. Oregon: 51,329
19. New Hampshire: 49,951
20. Hawaii: 49,686

27. Ohio: 45,887

Ohio is in the bottom half. Not great, as it indicates that it’s actually underperforming in GDP given its population.

So there you have it, a quick 2014 GDP update. To find out more, check out the BEA site at http://www.bea.gov/index.htm It has tons of economic information for states and metro areas.

Columbus Slowly Becoming Ohio’s Largest Job Market- In One Graph

The Columbus metro has long been Ohio’s 3rd largest labor market, but that seems to be changing over time.

The January 2015 labor force jumped to a record high, and if trends hold, may pass the other 2 Cs by the end of the year.