Cincinnati economy will lag national growth rate in 2014

Local economists forecast 2 percent growth

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati’s economy will grow by two percent in 2014, faster than this year but slower than the national economy.

That’s the word from a panel of five local economists convened for the 2014 Regional Economic Outlook, presented Wednesday by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

“While overall growth is forecast for 2014, mixed economic performance across industries will ensure only modest gains in employment,” said the report. “Economic growth in the Cincinnati area has lagged the U.S. over the past decade. In large part this is due to slower than average population growth.”

Economists predicted the Cincinnati-area economy will create 14,200 jobs in 2014, which amounts to a 1.4 percent growth rate. That’s better than last year’s growth of 1.2 percent but lower than the 1.8 percent national rate. Cincinnati's Gross Regional Product, the value of all goods and services produced by the local economy, will increase faster than this year's 1.4 percent rate, but slower than the national growth rate of 2.5 percent.

Construction, information services and manufacturing have yet to fully recover jobs lost during the recession. The health care, professional services and leisure/hospitality sectors have all surpassed pre-recession employment levels.

“The housing market still faces challenges, including tight lending conditions, slow economic growth and relatively high unemployment,” said the report. “As prices have been slow to recover, many consumers are unable to trade up to larger or more expensive homes since they are in a negative equity position – they owe more on the house than its market value.”

Northern Kentucky Chamber President Steve Stevens told the crowd of about 450 business leaders at Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown that the local economy is better by every measure than it was five years ago. He said. future growth prospects can be improved by optimism, hiring, investing and spending.

"Get out there and shop!" he said.

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