Ohio Business Climate

A Business-Friendly Approach Promotes Innovation and Growth in Ohio

Ohio is the birthplace of some of the world’s greatest inventions – the airplane, the lightbulb, the traffic light and even Superman. Today, as the country rebounds from an unprecedented crisis, Ohio will benefit from that innovative spirit in addition to the decisive interventions that helped to mitigate the impact on our state’s businesses and the economy.

Ohio offers a business environment that attracts global investment and fosters growth. Ohio’s simplified tax structure, central location and affordable cost of doing business are catalysts for past and future economic diversification and prosperity.

In 2019, JobsOhio saw its second-best year of project volume and new payroll commitments, and its third-best year of capital investment. After a record year in 2018, JobsOhio worked tirelessly in collaboration with new leadership to rebuild its pipeline of potential investment, translating into over 88,000 new and retained jobs coupled with over $24.4 billion in capital investments.

Since March of 2020, Ohio companies have benefited from over $300 million invested in numerous programs designed to provide relief during the public health crisis, including: the JobsOhio Workforce Retention Loan, the JobsOhio Innovation Fund and partnerships with Peoples Bank and First Federal/Home Savings Bank. This infusion of funding was made possible by strong state leadership and bipartisan cooperation between the executive and legislative branches, a hallmark of governance in Ohio.

Governor Mike DeWine’s RestartOhio plan has been lauded as a sensible and responsible plan of action in order to safely restart Ohio’s economy during the pandemic.

Fast Facts

  • With a Gross State Product (GSP) of $698 billion in 2019, Ohio is the 7th largest economy in the U.S., and ranks 4th in manufacturing gross domestic product
  • Ohio’s economy is ranked 21st worldwide
  • In 2019, 130,621 new businesses were created in Ohio, compared to just 80,273 in 2010 – a 63 percent increase
  • JobsOhio sector real GDP growth is 30.3 percent from 2010-2018, more than Region (19.8 percent) and the country (25.1 percent)
  • Since 2016 (December 2015 – February 2020), Ohio’s labor force has grown by about 13,200 to 5.7 million, indicating growing confidence in Ohio’s labor market
  • The state’s Common Sense Initiative has created a jobs-friendly regulatory environment
  • Accelerated environmental permitting process takes 180 days or less
  • Ohio has enjoyed stable ratings from Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch of Aa1/AA+/AA+ for more than 20 years.
  • Ohio ranks No. 10 in CNBC's 2021 America’s Top States for Business; No. 2 in cost of doing business, and No. 7 in access to capital.


    • No state corporate income or profits tax
    • No tax on products sold outside of Ohio
    • No state tax on machinery and equipment investments
    • No state tax on R&D investments
    • Only one state business tax – the Commercial Activity Tax (0.26 percent)

    The Tax Foundation recognizes Ohio as:

    • No. 1 in new data center corporate tax costs.
    • No. 1 in distribution center corporate tax costs.
    • No. 3 in new capital-intensive manufacturer corporate tax costs.
    • No. 5 in new labor-intensive manufacturer corporate tax costs.


Diversified Economy

Ohio’s economy consists of thriving industries that reflect the Midwest’s industrial leadership and continued innovation. JobsOhio executes strategies around Ohio’s top industries: advanced manufacturing, aerospace and aviation, automotive, energy and chemicals, financial services, food and agribusiness, healthcare, information technology, and logistics and distribution.

Foreign Direct Investment

For international companies seeking access to the U.S. market, Ohio is an advantageous location. Ohio’s welcoming culture, low cost of doing business, reliable and affordable energy, and skilled workforce make the state an appealing choice for international investors.


Source: International Corporate Investment in Ohio Operations

Ohio’s ELITE partnership

In the fall of 2019, the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) announced that Cleveland, Ohio, would serve as the home of its ELITE Americas headquarters. ELITE is LSEG’s international business support and capital raising initiative for ambitious, private, small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Cleveland headquarters will provide mid-market companies across North and South America access to the skills, networks and capital to help them scale up and reach the next stage of growth.

The Rise of Ohio — A Midwest Leader in Economic Growth

Recent indicators leave no doubt that Ohio is the best positioned state in the Midwest region to rebound from the economic downturn. Growth in Ohio’s private sector gross state product, jobs and wages have all outpaced regional states in recent years. Over the past decade, Ohio added more private sector jobs than any other state in the region, boasting a nearly 14 percent growth rate from 2010-2019. Additionally, Ohio's global engagement has supported a significant increase in jobs – up 18.91 percent over the last five years due to foreign direct investment. With global investment from 51 countries and 4,297 international establishments continuing to strengthen Ohio’s economy, the state has a culture of being able to work with international companies and make sure that they succeed and enjoy growth in the U.S. market.

The strong foundation of Ohio – including the state’s record budget reserves in 2019, a strong credit rating and a favorable tax climate for businesses – appeals to business decision makers. Investments in talent development initiatives and industries will further diversify Ohio’s economy - addressing concerns that companies face today  and better positioning Ohio as their choice for the future.

Ohio’s growth trajectory continues to garner national accolades and positive economic expectations:

  • Site Selection ranked Ohio No. 1 in its Governor’s Cup 2019 state economic and business attraction rankings for bringing more new corporate facility projects per capita than any other state in the nation. Ohio also earned the No. 2 spot for total projects overall, making it the only state to place in the top three in both categories.
  • Chief Executive Magazine ranks Ohio No. 9 in its Best States for Business rankings, up from 41 in 2011. Area Development ranks Ohio in 9th among its ranking for Top States for Doing Business.
  • Ohio received a Silver Shovel award from Area Development, which recognizes the state’s impressive roster of large job-creating and investment projects in 2019.
  • Ohio is #10 among CNBC’s ranking of America’s States for Businesses and #7 among U.S. News and World Report’s Best States for Opportunity ranking.
  • Ohio is #5 in the Fortune 500 count (27) and Fortune 1000 count (53) companies
  • Site Selection ranks Ohio fifth on its Prosperity Cup state rankings for 2020, which recognizes the state and regional offices that were the most successful in attracting capital investment projects in 2019.

Ohio’s growth and resilience is a testament to the efforts of public and private entities across the state. Recent trends and mitigating interventions demonstrate that Ohio continues to be a great state for business.

JobsOhio Focus Industries Continue to Outperform

JobsOhio sectors continue a growth trajectory in gross state product for the private sector that significantly outpaced the U.S. and regional states over the past seven years.

The JobsOhio sector focus has helped fuel the private sector growth in Ohio. The state is becoming more resilient, and to continue to foster this growth, JobsOhio will undertake a targeted approach to support of the needs of growth businesses.

In keeping with this growth, Venture Capital firms invested in Ohio at near record levels in 2019, reaching $962 million. Ohio is at a near decade-long high for venture capital, having had its second highest investment year in 2019. Previously, in 2018, Ohio broke the $1 billion mark in venture capital funding for the first time.

Increased VC funding translates into more early stage company growth, primarily in technology and healthcare across the state. For instance, in January 2019, Inc. magazine recognized Ohio’s growing attraction and included Columbus in the top 50 cities in the U.S. for starting a company. Inc. magazine noted that “Early-stage funding remains a bright spot in Ohio’s capital city,” with it ranking No. 15 in early-stage funding deals; No. 20 in overall wage growth; and No. 28 in population growth, according to the 2020 Surge Cities index.

Ohio is First in the Site Selection Governor’s Cup 2019 Rankings for New Economic Development Projects

Ohio hits No. 1 in projects per capita and No. 2 for total projects
March 2, 2020