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The Journal Gazette

  • Blakeman

Sunday, February 18, 2018 1:00 am

Where the jobs are

Newly released numbers offer glance at region's employment

Rachel Blakeman

Top 10

Allen County's top employers include both private- and public-sector jobs:

1. Parkview Health Systems: 7,298 employees

2. Lutheran Health Network: 5,313 employees

3. General Motors: 3,900 employees

4. Fort Wayne Community Schools: 3,600 employees

5. Lincoln Financial Group: 1,954 employees

6. BFGoodrich: 1,640 employees

7. City of Fort Wayne: 1,556 employees

8. Frontier Communications: 1,355 employees

9. Allen County government: 1,337 employees

10. East Allen County Schools: 1,204 employees

Source: Community Research Institute, IPFW

Fort Wayne's health care workforce grew about 30 percent, while manufacturing shed almost 7 percent of its jobs when comparing 2005 to 2015. That's according to the newly released U.S. Census Bureau's Statistics on U.S. Businesses for the Fort Wayne metropolitan statistical area – Allen, Wells and Whitley counties.

Health care overtook manufacturing as the largest industry by employment in 2013.

Yet manufacturing held onto the title of the area's largest payroll at more than $1.8 billion, compared to health care's $1.5 billion in 2015.

Almost half of 2015 Fort Wayne-area employees worked for an employer with 500 or more employees.

Other interesting changes in employment include a 65 percent increase in arts and entertainment, a 29 percent increase for transportation and warehousing, a 24 percent decrease in finance and insurance, a 20 percent decline for professional, scientific and technical services and an almost 11 percent decline in construction.

The Census Bureau releases these statistics annually at the national, state, county and MSA levels. In classic government fashion, the numbers feel nearly out of date when they are released – 2015 was released last month – but they provide interesting insight into economic activity.

The statistics show the size of the employer by total number of employees, number of firms (as determined by common ownership with one or more locations) and annual payroll using County Business Patterns data as calculated for the payroll period that covers March 12. The survey does not include public-sector employers such as public schools and local and state government but includes for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Over this 10-year period, payroll increased 23 percent for the Fort Wayne MSA, while total employment grew less than 1 percent. Firms and establishments in the Fort Wayne area shrank by 4.7 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.

The data are sorted by North American Industry Classification code, which is the grouping system for a firm's primary industry. 

The Census Bureau protects data that would reveal information about specific employers. Some is suppressed for the tables relating to smaller firms and establishments but included in the overall totals. Starting in 2007, the methodology infused a statistical “noise” multiplier that alters the data between less than 2 percent to more than 5 percent. Consequently, the 2015 numbers about employment and payroll should be evaluated as approximate rather an absolute.

Because the information is sorted by industry and not occupation, an auditor working for a hospital network will be counted in health care, while an auditor working for an accounting firm will be in professional services. Jobs also are attributed to the employer's location, so workers from DeKalb County employed in Whitley County are reflected in the statistics, for example, but not Allen County residents working in Huntington County.

As for employment totals, someone holding multiple jobs is counted for each job he or she has on March 12, but the jobs are not separated by full- or part-time status. Thus, the person working part time at their children's school but also employed on weekends at a big-box retailer will be counted twice.

Accordingly, the number of employees can appear to be inflated against the labor force numbers, which counts people, not positions. The size of the labor force and unemployment figures are tabulated by county of residence.

Rachel Blakeman is director of the Community Research Institute at IPFW.