Sandusky continues economic slide

SANDUSKY We're not exactly in good company. Sandusky now ranks among the the
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



We're not exactly in good company.

Sandusky now ranks among the the 20 worst small cities in the nation in terms of job growth, according to the results of an annual study by the Milken Institute/Greenstreet Partners, a California-based think tank.

Compared to last year's findings, Sandusky has dropped 10 spots, from 152 to 162, among 179 small cities nationwide with a population lower than 200,000.

Jennifer Manfre, spokeswoman for the Milken Institute, said the three criteria for the ranking were job growth, wage/salary growth and high-technology gross domestic product growth. The study reflects data collected in 2006 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Gross domestic product refers to the market value of goods produced. The high-tech gross domestic product growth rate reflects the city's high-tech job market compared to the national average.

"The ability of a city to build and retain high-tech industries is a clear indicator of their economic growth," Manfr said.

Sandusky's growth rate for the concentration of high-tech jobs in the area is 0.29, compared to the national average of 1.

"That's is very low," Manfr said. It reflects a lack of diversity, lack of quantity and lack of concentration, she added.

In terms of employment growth rate and wage/salary growth rate, Sandusky also ranked below the national average.

A higher percentage in Sandusky's one-year growth rate compared to the five-year growth rate could mean there has been a recent increase overall -- but it's not definitive.

"I can't say with certainty you're on the rise," Manfr said. "Other cities have seen that their one-year is lower -- that's not a good sign."

Ocala, Fla., was rated as the best-performing large U.S. city, while most metropolitan areas from Ohio and Michigan were among the worst. Lansing-East Lansing, Mich., was rated the worst. Among small cities, Bend, Ore., was rated No. 1; Springfield, Ohio, was the lowest.

Manfr said overall economic decline has been a trend throughout the Midwest, because of rising energy costs and a high dependency on manufacturing.

City Finance Director Ed Widman said he was unable to comment on the study at this time.

At a glance: Sandusky Statistics

* ranked 162 out of 179 small cities nationwide

* 5-year Job growth rate -- 94.83 / Nat'l Average -- 100

* 1-year Job growth rate -- 97.37 / Nat'l Average -- 100

* 5-year Wage/Salary growth rate -- 88.76 / Nat'l Average -- 100

* 1-year Wage/Salary growth rate -- 96.03 / Nat'l Average -- 100

* Location Quotient of high-tech jobs -- .29 / Nat'l Average -- 1

Other Ohio Cities:

(ranked nationally out of 200 large cities)

* Columbus -- 154

* Akron -- 155

* Cincinnati -- 167

* Cleveland -- 193

* Toledo -- 196

Source -- Milken Institute/Greenstreet Partners Best Performing Cities 2007