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    Cleveland's Economic Revival


    A top official from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland said the city is enjoying a genuine turnaround. (Teresa Dixon Murray, The Plain Dealer, January 14, 2015)

    Mark Schweitzer, senior vice president and director of research, noted during a downtown presentation to the Greater Cleveland Mortgage Bankers Association, that Cleveland's economic and business performance in past years had been horrible. But now, in part because of business development, and fueled by economic drivers such as the 2016 Republican National Convention, it's a new day in Cleveland. 

    Cleveland today, as compared to the last decade, he said, "I think it's a much healthier environment."  A key for the future of this region, Schweitzer said, will be the ability of businesses to continue to be innovative, develop new products and secure new patents. 

     
    Echoing what other economists and analysts have been saying lately, Schweitzer said the national economy is showing more and more signs of improvement and normalcy, from consumer confidence to unemployment to inflation. 

    Highlights from Schweitzer's presentation: 

    • Because more companies are hiring, more workers feel confident about looking for new jobs. And for those who weren't working, the unemployment rate has dropped nearly in half. 

    • Consumer confidence has climbed back in the last five years, but still isn't as high as it was in 2000.

    • Auto sales are healthy. Schweitzer noted that auto sales are one of the best economic barometers. "That says households are feeling comfortable about their situations."

    • Despite incredibly low mortgage rates, mortgage activity has slowed as refinances have fallen tremendously and purchases have flattened and even dropped a bit, which he called "a bit of a puzzle."

    • In a troubling development, renting has become more popular than buying for 18- to 34-year-olds.

    • Consumers and businesses can reasonably expect the Federal Reserve to increase base interest rates this year. A majority of the policymakers see base rates increasing gradually by next year.

    Original Plain Dealer Article