PNC Economist: Better days ahead, buoyed by Dayton’s strengths

Open jobs in the Dayton area remain a problem for companies. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
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Open jobs in the Dayton area remain a problem for companies. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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Credit:

Chief economist sees local demographics, Wright-Patterson offering reasons for optimism

PNC Bank’s chief economist offered a mostly optimistic forecast for the national economy, while offering a shout-out to attributes he believes the Dayton metropolitan area has going for it.

Speaking Friday at Carillon Park’s Eichelberger Pavilion as part of PNC’s annual economic forecast breakfast, Augustine Faucher, PNC senior vice president and chief economist, said that while he expects the 19-month national economic recovery to continue, he also sees Dayton poised to take advantage of lower costs and the presence of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, even as regional employment struggles to attain pre-pandemic levels.

Among the region’s strengths — recent long-term population growth in the overall metro area, Faucher said.

“I do think that the Dayton region has some significant long-run advantages,” he said.

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PNC Chief Economist Augustine Faucher

PNC Chief Economist Augustine Faucher
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PNC Chief Economist Augustine Faucher

Faucher said there is some evidence of gradual Dayton-area population growth before a recent decline.

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A look at state, federal and Dayton-area population trends, presented by PNC Bank Friday Nov. 19. Contributed

A look at state, federal and Dayton-area population trends, presented by PNC Bank Friday Nov. 19. Contributed
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A look at state, federal and Dayton-area population trends, presented by PNC Bank Friday Nov. 19. Contributed

The city of Dayton lost nearly 3% of its population in the past decade — but slowed its decline compared to previous decades — according to the 2020 Census.

Montgomery County grew by just 2,156 residents from 2010 to 2020, a mere 0.4% increase, but other area counties saw more robust growth. Miami County grew by more than 6,200 residents in that decade, a 6.1% increase; Greene County grew by nearly 6,400 residents, a nearly 4% jump and Warren County showed the strongest growth regionally — more than 29,600 residents, a leap of nearly 14%.

In all, Faucher said he saw evidence of “better demographics” in the Dayton area.

He also pointed to double-digit growth in the price of single-family homes in the region, a trend mostly mirroring what’s going on nationally.

On Friday, the Dayton Realtors trade organization reported that the year-to-date average sale price and median sale price of area homes continued to rise, with the average price reaching $218,927, up 11%, while the median price came in at $185,000, a gain of nearly 9%.

However, employment remains a challenge, locally and nationally. Dayton-area employment is still below pre-pandemic levels and even down compared to the year 2000, Faucher noted.

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A look at regional, state and federal employment levels, from PNC Bank. Contributed.

A look at regional, state and federal employment levels, from PNC Bank. Contributed.
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A look at regional, state and federal employment levels, from PNC Bank. Contributed.

This dovetails somewhat with the national picture. Of particular challenge: Jobs are open, but many employers are having trouble finding qualified employees. At one point during Friday’s breakfast briefing, Faucher asked those attending if they’re having trouble finding employees

About two-third of those sitting in the Eichelberger Pavilion raised their hands.

Nationally, some 22 million jobs were lost in March and April 2020, a staggering loss, well above the 8 million jobs lost over two years in the Great Recession of 2007-08.

Since then, 18 million jobs have been filled, but a shortage of workers remains. Some will never return to the workforce, he said. But some will.

“We’ll gradually see some of these people return to the workforce over the next year or so,” Faucher said.

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