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CEOs Find Ohio a Top 10 Best State for Business For Fourth Consecutive Year

This report is a summary of third-party economic research and perspectives to foster communication with business and economic development stakeholders during the COVID-19 crisis.

Sat May 01 2021

Key Economic Insights

  • Global: Global COVID-19 caseload tops 150M, including over 400,000 new cases in India.
  • U.S.: 2021Q1 GDP grew at an annualized 6.4%. Disposable income, consumer spending, consumer confidence, and durable goods orders all increased. Jobless claims are at a pandemic low.
  • Ohio: Ohio ranked #7 in Chief Executive’s Best & Worst States for Business 2021

Global Insights

U.S. to restrict travel from India effective May 4 as the country is in the grip of an unprecedented spike in cases.  The head of Heathrow airport has warned of the risk of a crisis from a thinly staffed border force struggling to cope with COVID-related passenger checks if overseas holidays restart next month.  French President Macron says France will reopen cafe and restaurant terraces on May 19 as well as museums, cinemas, theaters and concert halls under certain conditions.

The global chip shortage is going from bad to worse with automakers on three continents joining tech giants Apple and Samsung Electronics in flagging production cuts and lost revenue from the crisis.  Nearly 130M students were out of school before the pandemic and Malala Fund’s research estimates that an additional 20M who were in secondary school may never return once it subsides.

U.S. Insights

Powered by consumers, the U.S. economy grew at a 6.4% annual rate last quarter – a show of strength fueled by government aid and declining viral cases that could drive further gains as the nation rebounds.  Income at the disposal of households before accounting for inflation surged by a whopping $2.36T after decreasing $402B in the fourth quarter.  As result, consumer spending jumped at a 10.7% rate, boosted by purchases of motor vehicles, furniture, recreational goods and electronics. Economists estimate households have accumulated at least $2T in excess savings during the pandemic.  Many families continue to struggle leading President Biden to propose another major stimulus called the American Families Plan.

Jobless claims fell again to the lowest level since the pandemic took hold more than a year ago, another sign the labor market is rebounding this spring.  Initial unemployment claims, a proxy for layoffs, fell by 13,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 553,000, the Labor Department said.  Consumers’ confidence in the U.S. economy rose sharply to 121.7 in April from a revised 109 in March, marking the fourth straight month of gains.  President Biden signed an executive order to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour for federal contractors, providing a pay bump to hundreds of thousands of workers.  Home prices nationally in February rose 12% year over year, up from 11.2% in January, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index.

The latest vaccination rate is 2.67M doses per day, on average.  At this pace, it will take another 3 months to cover 75% of the population.  Places around the U.S. are offering incentives to try to energize the slowing vaccination drive and get Americans to roll up their sleeves, including free beer, doughnuts, savings bonds, and a chance to win an all-terrain vehicle.  Detroit is offering $50 to people who give others a ride to vaccination shots.  New York City aims to “fully reopen” on July 1 after more than a year of closures and capacity restrictions.

Boeing posted its sixth consecutive quarterly loss as it faces a weak jetliner market but said it expects 2021 to be a turning point as more people are vaccinated and travel again.  Honda is targeting sales of 100% zero emission electrified vehicles in North America by 2040.  CVS Health announced the launch of a dedicated corporate venture capital fund that will invest in and partner with high-potential, early-stage companies focused on making health care more accessible, affordable, and simpler.  The S&P 500 clinched a new intraday record on Thursday after blowout earnings results from two of the biggest tech companies in the world: Apple and Facebook.

Ohio Employment & Economic Insights

Ohio’s ranking in Chief Executive’s Best & Worst States for Business 2021 rose to #7 best from #9 in 2020. Chief Executive also considers Columbus a New Digital Factory Town.  Four cities in Ohio made the top 25 in the Emerging Housing Markets list by WSJ and  Those housing markets are expected to provide a strong return on investment and a nice place to live.  Looking good! Cleveland praised as NFL Draft puts city in national spotlight.  On Saturday, TQL Stadium – one of the most ambitious soccer-specific stadiums in North America – opened in Cincinnati.

New unemployment claims hit a five-month low in Ohio last week, suggesting both an improvement in the state economy and a clampdown on fraudulent claims.  Ohio will drop from 16 congressional seats down to 15 due to the population growing more slowly than other parts of the country.  Ohio grew by 2.3% from 2010 to 2020 while the country as a whole got 7.4% bigger and western states like Utah grew by double digits.

Positive Company-Specific News

  • Superior Roll Forming in Medina County’s Valley City plans to add 150 jobs at an expansion of its roll forming facility in nearby Liverpool Township.
  • MAI Wealth Management expects to create 50 full-time positions, generating $4M in new annual payroll, by moving its headquarters out of downtown Cleveland to neighboring Independence, Ohio, by the third quarter of 2022.
  • American Freight announced plans Monday to expand its headquarters in Delaware County, creating 37 new jobs in the area.
  • AEP Energy has signed an agreement with the Fremont-based Crown Battery Manufacturing Company to provide clean energy through the company’s Integrated Renewable Energy (IRE) solution.
  • Lightsource bp has executed a power purchase agreement with Amazon for a new 375 megawatt (MWdc) solar project under development in Ohio, as part of Amazon’s long-term commitment to power its global infrastructure with renewable energy. The project will be located in Auglaize and Allen Counties.
  • JPMorgan Chase will open its U.S. offices to all employees May 17 — while adhering to a 50% occupancy cap. JPMorgan Chase announced it is launching a community-based hiring model in Columbus to help remove barriers for qualified people with criminal backgrounds to secure employment at JPMorgan Chase.
  • Cincinnati’s First Student has been acquired by EQT Infrastructure, the market leading providers of essential North American transportation services, for $4.6B.


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