Greater Cleveland nationally had the second largest unemployment rate decrease in March among large metro areas, according to a federal Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Wednesday.

The jobless rate in Greater Cleveland was 4.2% in March. In March 2022, it was 5.6%. That means the unemployment rate fell by 1.4 percentage points. Only Greater Detroit, which fell by 1.5% points, saw a larger decrease in the jobless rate. (The jobless rate in that Michigan metro area was 2.8%)

Ohio’s unemployment rate in March was 4%, according to the BLS report. When the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services released March’s jobless rate April 21, it placed the rate at 3.8%. There is no discrepancy. The BLS numbers are not seasonally adjusted, but ODJFS’s are. The seasonally adjusted rate takes into account predictable seasonal patterns that often influence unemployment, ranging from school breaks to severe weather.

The unemployment rate nationally was 3.5% (seasonally adjusted) in March.

The federal government labels the Cleveland-Elyria metro area as including the more than 2 million residents of Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties. BLS ranked Cleveland among the 51 large metros areas, or those with a population of at least 1 million as of the 2010 Census.

Unemployment rates were lower in March than a year earlier in 208 of the 389 metro areas the report examined, BLS found. Jobless rates were higher in 151 and unchanged in 30 metro areas.

During part of 2022, Cleveland metro’s unemployment rate was lower than that of Ohio. In 2023,  the local  jobless rate, so far, has returned to the predictable pattern of running a little higher than Ohio’s unemployment rate. In March, Signal Cleveland interviewed  Sining Wang, an assistant professor of economics at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, about the local economy. Take a look at: This is what Greater Cleveland’s economy looks like during the pandemic recovery to put the latest BLS numbers into perspective.

Economics Reporter (she/her)
Olivera, an award-winning journalist, covered labor, employment and workforce issues for several years at The Plain Dealer. She broke the story in 2013 of a food drive held for Walmart workers who made too little to afford Thanksgiving dinner. Olivera has received state and national awards for her coverage, including those from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW). She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Olivera believes the sweet spot of high-impact journalism is combining strong storytelling with data analysis.