Cleveland Fed VP: Job growth at fastest rate in 17 years

U.S. employment is growing at its fastest rate nearly two decades, but slower wage growth could hold back further economic recovery, a senior executive from the region’s Federal Reserve Bank said Friday at Wright State University.

“The labor market continues to expand and we are actually … in the strongest employment economy we’ve had in this country in 17 years,” said LaVaughn Henry, vice president and senior regional officer of the Cincinnati branch of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank.

However, slower wage growth is “a big issue with how fast we move forward and how long we move forward,” he said.

Henry was the keynote speaker at Wright State’s inaugural LIFT (Leading Innovation in Finance Today) Symposium, a day-long conference for area finance professionals and students that attracted nearly 150 people from the banking, insurance, accounting, investing and financial planning industries.

Hosted by Wright State’s Raj Soin College of Business, the conference addressed current industry issues such as succession planning for financial services firms and the use of technology in client management, said Bill Wood, a senior lecturer and director of the school’s Financial Services program.

“The more financially literate our population is, the easier we are going to withstand the inevitable ups and downs of our economy,” Wood said.

Wright State hopes the LIFT Symposium will become an annual event, he said.

Henry provided a look at the Dayton region’s economy, which continues to recover, but at a slower pace than Ohio and the nation.

Strong manufacturing demand led by the automotive and aerospace sectors have helped stimulate the region’s economy, as have announced plans of international manufacturers such as Fuyao Glass America Inc. bringing jobs to the area.

In addition, the Dayton metro area’s large health care sector continues to perform well as the region’s aging population makes increased use of area facilities, he said.