For the most part, Northeast Ohio’s largest employers didn’t get much larger over the past year.

To be fair, two of the biggest organizations on our 100 Largest Northeast Ohio Employers list did grow substantially. And that’s the main reason why total full-time equivalent employment rose by 2.4% among the 93 employers that submitted data in both 2017 and 2018.


The median increase for that group, however, was 0% (a few organizations, like Goodyear and Parker Hannifin, submitted the same rounded employment figure in both 2017 and 2018, so the median would likely be slightly different had they submitted exact figures).

And if you remove the two organizations that posted the biggest increases in headcount — the Cleveland Clinic, No. 1 on the list, and staffing and employment services firm Group Management Services, No. 3 — total employment decreased very slightly.

But don’t go assuming that most local companies haven’t been hiring. Unemployment in the Cleveland metro area fell by nearly one percentage point between May 2017 and May 2018, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. It ended that period at 4.8% — not as good as the 3.9% national rate, but an improvement nonetheless. And at least some of that improvement is due to job growth, according to the report, which noted that workers leaving the region was also a factor.

Plus, other cross-industry lists produced by Crain’s this year showed significant employment growth. For instance, employment on our Privately Held Companies list grew by 4.9% if you look at the 42 companies that submitted employment figures in both 2017 and 2018. And total employment on our Family-Owned Businesses list grew by 1.4% — growth that was spread out among 44 of the 69 companies on that list.

And let’s not discount the employment gains made by the Cleveland Clinic and Group Management Services. The Clinic posted a 7.7% staff increase, pushing its total to 44,843 full-time equivalent employees. Richfield-based Group Management Services reported 15,942 full-time equivalent employees, a whopping 40.6% increase over the past year. The company has posted large headcount increases for a few years in a row. Since it’s a staffing firm, most of those employees work on behalf of other organizations.

Two other staffing companies that were in the Top 10 on last year’s list — Minute Men and Area Temps — did not submit information for this year’s list.

A few other firms did post sizable employment increases over the past year. For instance, Sherwin-Williams, No. 16 on the list, added more than 600 employees locally, a 14.2% increase. Nordson Corp., No. 79, added 231 local employees, a 32.3% increase, after the Westlake-based industrial technology firm consolidated work from four facilities into a new plant in Austintown.

General Motors posted the biggest decrease, going from roughly 4,500 employees to 3,000. GM’s Lordstown plant eliminated its second shift in June. It also posted the biggest decline on last year’s list, after the plant cut its third shift in January 2017.

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