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Ohio’s Profile as Advanced Manufacturing Hub Continues to Grow

Thu Apr 14 2022

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

Key Economic Insights

U.S. Insights

The unemployment rate declined to a new two-year low of 3.6% in March. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 431,000 during the month. Average hourly earnings rose 5.6% year-over-year. The labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 62.4% during the month. New jobless claims fell to 166,000 during the week ending April 2, the lowest level since 1968, beating expectations. U.S. Job openings fell slightly to 11.3M in February, the third-highest level on record. Quits totaled 4.4M during the month, or about 2.9% of the workforce.

U.S GDP for Q4 2021 was revised down to 6.9% from previous estimates of 7%.  The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index increased to 107.2 from a downwardly revised 105.7 reading in February. ISM Manufacturing PMI registered 57.1 during the month, and ISM Services PMI registered 58.3.  The PCE Price Index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation indicator, increased at a 5.4% annual rate in February, the largest increase since 1983. Including groceries and gas, PCE rose 6.4%, the fastest rate since January 1982.  U.S factory orders declined 0.5% in February, marking the first monthly decline in orders for manufactured goods after nine consecutive months of increases.

Ohio Employment & Economic Insights

Ohio’s Real GDP rose by 5.5% during the fourth quarter of 2021, registering nearly $765B. Preliminary estimates show that Ohio’s Real GDP rose at a 4.3% annual rate for the full-year (2021), totaling nearly $736.5B, the #7 largest GDP across all 50 states. Ohio’s Manufacturing GDP registered nearly $117.9B in 2021, ranking as the #4 largest across all 50 states. Central Ohio’s industrial vacancy rate was 1.6% for Q1 2022, according to JLL, the fifth consecutive quarter industrial space availability has reached an all-time low after dropping from 2.1% in Q4 2021.

Eight projects, collectively set to create 1,884 new jobs, $129M in new payroll, and $1B in investment across Ohio received approval of assistance from the Ohio Tax Credit Authority.  Economic development in Allen County continues to show positive momentum. The Central District (Lima, OH) recently received a $1.2M grant from JobsOhio, with plans to bring workspaces, flats, creative studios, makerspace, shops, a dog park, and more to the downtown area.

A new report from the Brookings Institution highlights case studies from Akron and Cincinnati – among five recalibrating industrial cities – to better understand public, private, and civic efforts to advance inclusive economic growth.  A series of four white papers authored by TEConomy Partners, and co-sponsored by the Center for Innovative Food Technology and JobsOhio, highlights how Ohio has been a leader in research and innovation in the food industry, a primary driver of the state economy.

Multiple Ohio universities ranked in the top 50 in U.S. News & World Report's 2023 Best Graduate Schools. Ohio State University achieved a top-50 ranking in all six categories, including Nursing (#7), Education (#27), Engineering (#30), Law (#30), Medical (#30), and Business (#39). Case Western Reserve University earned top marks in Nursing (#11), Medical (#24), and Engineering (#45). The University of Cincinnati ranked highly in Medical (#43) and Nursing (#49), and the University of Dayton received recognition for its Engineering (#48) program. Niche’s 2022 Best Places to Buy a House in America ranked the Ohio communities of Minster (#16), New Breman (#20), Sherwood (#27), Bluffton (#37), and Oakwood (#47) highly, and named Oakwood (#42) as an ideal place to raise a family.

Ohio Company News

  • SEMCORP Manufacturing expects to create 1,199 full-time positions, generating $73M in payroll with its new $900M lithium-ion battery separator films factory in Sidney, the company’s first in the U.S.
  • Orveon Global plans to hire 150 with $15M in payroll at its new corporate office in Columbus.
  • Glidepath Holdings expects to add 150 employees, including $12.8M in payroll, while retaining 633 employees as part of its $8M expansion of the Great American Life Insurance HQ in Cincinnati.
  • ZIN Technologies intends to create 125 full-time jobs, generating $11.8M in new payroll and retaining $17.4M in existing payroll as a result of the company’s expansion project in Middleburg Heights.
  • Behr Process expects to create 90 full-time positions, generating $4.4M in new payroll as a result of the company’s new 320,000 SF project in Heath, investing $80M in the building and equipment.
  • Axuall plans to create 75 full-time jobs with $7M in new payroll while retaining $1.3M in existing payroll as a result of the company’s $1.5M startup project focused on healthcare credentialing in Cleveland.
  • Ice Industries expects to create 71 full-time positions, generating $3.8M in new payroll as a result of the company’s $9M, 150,000 SF solar-panel support expansion project in Bowling Green.
  • Ortal intends to create 24 full-time positions, generating $1.5M in new payroll and retaining $400,000 in existing payroll as a result of the company’s new project in Columbus.
  • American Nitrile secured $105M in funding to construct a 530,000 SF disposable gloves manufacturing facility in Grove City that is expected to employ 400.
  • ATS Industrial Automation announced two projects in Lewis Center totaling 490,000 SF where up to 260 workers will construct assembly systems for EV batteries.
  • Triple Whale in Columbus has raised $24M in Series A funding with plans to triple its current staff of 45.
  • Square Roots is building a 25-employee smart indoor farm in Springfield in partnership with GFS.
  • Ohio National Mutual Holdings will receive $500M in investment over the next four years from Constellation Insurance Holdings after becoming its independently managed stock subsidiary and being renamed Ohio National Holdings (ONH). ONH’s HQ and staff of nearly 1,000 will remain in Cincinnati.
  • Trotwood Community Improvement Corporation is redeveloping a former Sears in Dayton into a business hub for $16M. Future development plans include the entire 55-acre site of the former Salem Mall.
  • Overlooked Ventures, in Columbus, signed on Bank of America as its first institutional investor.
  • AgileBlue has raised $3M in funding and added NY-based Tribeca Early-Stage Partners as an investor.
  • Cleveland Clinic opened its 184-bed London Hospital in the U.K., further expanding the global footprint of the world-renowned system with locations in Florida, Nevada, Toronto, London, and Abu Dhabi.
  • American Battery Solutions upgraded and relaunched its 170,000 SF facility in Dayton with new production capacity for lithium-ion batteries and new product offerings and customer programs.
  • Strix Drones, out of Israel, plans to open a new drone docking station manufacturing facility in Dayton.
  • Society Brands has acquired OmniiX, an Arizona-based brand management agency. This strategic acquisition follows a recent capital funding round for Canton-based Society Brands totaling $205M.
  • Kroger will partner with Nvidia to build an artificial intelligence lab in Cincinnati.
  • Lazurite Holdings received FDA approval to market and sell its ArthroFree wireless surgical camera.
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