The Cleveland area gained 23,000 jobs from December 2014 to December 2015, which was the largest year-over-year job growth since 1997. That's according to a study published Tuesday by Cleveland State University's Center for Population Dynamics.
"There's a lot of outside money coming in tied to the fact that we're really good at exporting longevity," said Richey Piiparinen, director of the Center for Population Dynamics and author of "Cleveland Works: Employment Trends, 2014 to 2015."
Piiparinen said healthcare is a driving force of the local economy, which in turn is boosting the hospitality, construction, education and finance industries.
“Keeping people alive is not going to go out of vogue," he added. "So Cleveland’s in a really good position to be competitively advantaged in the global economy on healthcare.”
“We’re all a brand new group, some of us brand new to the hotel industry," said Abby Stewart, who is one of 45 employees working at the Kimpton Schofield hotel, which opened downtown Tuesday.
Stewart said she tried to get a hospitality job in the Cleveland area five years ago, but the market was downright dismal. So she left the state and recently returned to a resurgence of the city with the Republican National Convention on the horizon.
"It seems like we're getting a really big growth in it [the hospitality industry] with all of the hotels opening and the convention center as well," she added. "It definitely opens up a lot for the city in general and the people who grew up here to make sure we're representing what we have."
Cleveland experienced a 2.2 percent change in job growth from December 2014 to December 2015, which is the fourth largest job growth among cities of similar size and makeup. The cities ahead of Cleveland for job growth are Charlotte, Indianapolis and Baltimore.