Here are 7 indicators that illustrate Columbus' strengthening economy.
Development in Central Ohio has been accelerating and experts say the activity likely will continue through 2018.
Data hawks across the city’s development community have been tracking trends in jobs, housing and real estate. They say 2017 ended with a number of positive indicators for Central Ohio. Here are several:
1. Recession rebound
Central Ohio’s employment by the end of 2017 surpassed pre-recession levels in almost every category. Data from CoStar Market Analytics show non-farm employment in the Columbus market is 114 percent of what it was before the recession, while office work is 118 percent.
“Because Columbus is an outlier in that it wasn’t hit as hard by manufacturing, it has recovered more quickly from the recession, and lot of people across Ohio are moving there,” said Ben Atwood, a CoStar analyst.
2. Keeping balance
Even with substantial 12-month job gains in trade, transportation and utilities (7,300), construction (4,600) and professional and business services (3,700), the Columbus economy retains a notable diversity of employment at the end of 2017 – five industries account for at least 10 percent of the workforce each, but none of them 20 percent, according to Jones Lang LaSalle data.
3. Growing spaces
Low vacancy in the retail sector has pushed rent prices up and high visibility spaces are hard to come by, while new office construction is making landlords reinvest. And the region is continuing its industrial building boom, according to NAI Ohio Equities.
The city’s industrial inventory stands at 268.8 million square feet in 5,200 buildings. An additional 3.2 million square feet is promised in 2018.
4. Building big
Construction starts in Columbus are continuing at a steady pace, according to Dodge Data Analytics. While construction on new commercial space has cooled a bit from last year, the region still saw $3.52 billion in new building costs last year. Residential construction, in particular, has been growing at a steady pace.
5. Co-working explosion
Co-working space, which was flat in Columbus for 12 years, has taken off. By the end of 2018, Columbus will have 47 co-working spaces with a total of 563,000 square feet.
6. Housing growth
CoStar data show a 31.8 percent jump in housing in Delaware County as development expands to the north. Downtown housing has grown by nearly 28.5 percent. However, some neighborhoods aren’t seeing the same level of growth.
7. Rising rent
It should be said that the desire for urban living is driving rents higher. Many suburbs are seeing rents rising quickly, too.