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Ohio Cuts Ribbon on World’s “Smartest” Highway

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

Mon Sep 20 2021

Key Economic Insights

  • Global: The global recovery is slowing as COVID-19 resurges, spurring governments to try to raise vaccination rates in hopes of fueling stronger economic growth.
  • U.S.: In a signal of resilience, U.S. retail sales rose 0.7% in August versus expectations for a decline.
  • Ohio: Ohio’s unemployment rate was 5.4% in August 2021. The 33 Smart Mobility Corridor in central Ohio is now open.

Global Insights

Barometers of future economic activity, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s leading indicators, point to further cooling in the months ahead. 43.3% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.  Canada’s annual inflation rate accelerated to an 18-year-high of 4.1% in August, pushed up in part by a jump in gasoline prices, which rose 32.5% from August 2020.  The UK economy grew 0.1% in July, marking the economy’s sixth consecutive month of growth. Production output increased 1.2% from June, with services output largely unchanged. The UK economy remains 2.1% below its pre-pandemic peak.

China’s producer-price index rose 9.5% in August year-over-year, the fastest increase since 2008. Outbound shipments rose 25.6% in August, above economist expectations for a 17% increase. Retail sales grew 2.5% in August, well below forecasts for 7% growth.  Japan’s wholesale inflation hovered near a 13-year high in August as raw material imports continued to rise on solid global demand. The corporate goods price index (CGPI) rose for the sixth straight month to 5.5% in August from a year earlier.

U.S. Insights

Over 63% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 54% is fully vaccinated.  Initial jobless claims rose to 332,000 for the week ended September 11 from a pandemic low of 312,000 a week earlier. Continuing claims fell to 2.7M, a new pandemic low. Retail sales posted a surprise gain in August despite fears that escalating Covid cases and supply chain issues would hold back consumers. Sales increased 0.7% for the month, above estimates for a decline of 0.8%.

CPI rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in August. The index rose 5.3% in August from a year earlier, down from the 5.4% pace in July. PPI increased 0.7% in August, above estimates for an increase of 0.6%. On a year-over-year basis, the index rose 8.3%, the biggest annual increase since November 2010.  The cost of imported goods fell for the first time in 10 months, with the import price index dropping 0.3% in August. U.S. industrial production recovered to pre-pandemic levels in August, rising at a seasonally adjusted 0.4% for the month.  The U.S. budget deficit narrowed to $2.7T during the first 11 months of the fiscal year.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index increased in August to 100.1, up 0.4 points from July. 50% of owners reported job openings they could not fill, up one point from July and a record high reading for the second consecutive month.  A recent employment outlook survey from ManpowerGroup found that employers in 59% of U.S. businesses surveyed expect to add to payrolls during Q4 2021. In each of the 12 national industry sectors, hiring sentiment is the strongest since the NAICS sector classification was adopted in 2009.  New data from the US Census Bureau shows American incomes fell in 2020. Median household income was $67,500, down 2.9% from 2019. The poverty rate was 11.4%, the first increase after five consecutive years of declines. Consumer sentiment index from University of Michigan for September 2021 is 71.0, up from 70.3 in August. In August, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 61.7%, nearly unchanged since June.

Notable job gains in August occurred in professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, private education, manufacturing, and other services.

Ohio Employment & Economic Insights

Public and private sector partners opened the world’s most connected highway in central Ohio. The 33 Smart Mobility Corridor is the premier location for developing and testing smart mobility technology that has the potential to enhance safety, reduce congestion, and improve fuel economy. Ryan Augsburger, President of The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association wrote, “In its first decade, JobsOhio has boosted Ohio’s competitiveness.”

Ohio’s unemployment rate was 5.4% in August 2021, unchanged from July. In August, the labor force participation rate in Ohio was 60.8%, up from 60.5% in July 2021 and down from 62.7% in August 2020. Employment in goods-producing industries increased 400 over the month, while the private service-providing sector decreased by 2,600. More than 6.2M Ohioans ages 12 and up have started the COVID-19 vaccination process, marking 62.4% of the population currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.

Positive Company-Specific News

  • Amazon plans to hire more than 9,000 full and part-time employees across Ohio. Amazon Logistics announced its newest local facility will be constructed near the Dayton Airport. The 140,000 SF building, which is expected to open in 2022, will create more than 100 full and part-time jobs.
  • Cleveland Clinic contributed $21.6B to Ohio’s economy in 2019, according to the health system’s most recent economic and fiscal impact report.
  • Miami Valley Polishing is investing more than $3.5M to build a new 69,000 SF facility in Shelby County, doubling the company’s physical footprint.
  • Nature Fresh Farms will double their greenhouse acreage from the current 45 acres to 90, with the future extension to be dedicated to year-round Organics; will be building a 60,000 SF distribution warehouse in Delta.
  • Woolpert purchased Optimal GEO, a firm that serves the defense and intelligence communities, adding more than 100 new employees.
  • J.R. Simplot is expanding its services into Tiffin; plans to develop a new greenfield location and hire 10 employees.
  • Parker-Hannifin was offered up to $39.7M as part of the U.S. Transportation Department’s aviation manufacturing assistance program.
  • EASE Logistics, a multi-operational supply chain and transportation consulting company headquartered in Dublin, was named one of the fastest-growing companies by Inc. Magazine for the fourth consecutive year.
  • Cuyahoga Community College was chosen as one of four locations for a workforce development pilot funded by Goldman Sachs Foundation to address a growing skills gap for recent graduates.
  • Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center will receives Ohio’s first Hyperfine Portable MRI Systems to speed scanning and diagnosis for urgent brain injuries.
  • University Hospitals Accountable Care Organization in Cleveland will collaborate with Senseonics Holdings and Ascensia Diabetes Care to begin offering continuous glucose monitoring devices to its Medicare enrollees starting in September.

Negative Company-Specific News

  • Ford will furlough approximately 1,300 workers at their Lima engine plant for one week due to nationwide interruptions in the company’s assembly process.
  • PUCO issued an audit report of FirstEnergy’s Ohio electric distribution companies’ compliance.
  • Sims Lohman was cited by OSHA for repeat safety violations.


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