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Advanced Manufacturing is a Key Economic Driver for the Region

Sector contributes $21.8 billion annually to Northeast Ohio GRP

ManufacturingAdvanced manufacturing is a significant driver of the Northeast Ohio economy and has been a key factor in the region’s recovery from the early 2000’s and 2008 recessions. However, growth in employment in the sector has fallen behind increases in Gross Regional Product, and efforts to address this challenge will require an increase in the area’s skilled workforce.

A new report published by Cleveland State University’s Center for Economic Development found that advanced manufacturing, which consists of 35 industries ranging from automobile manufacturing to natural resource extraction to computer system design, contributes nearly $21.8 billion annually to Northeast Ohio’s GRP. This is more than half of overall manufacturing GRP for the region, and represents an 8 percent growth rate since 2013, which is five percentage points higher than the national average.

Unfortunately, advanced manufacturing also saw a 3.3 percent decrease in employment during the same time frame, due to the restructuring of numerous industries and the growth in automation and information technology. This is compared to a 2 percent growth rate in advanced manufacturing employment nationally. 

“Advanced manufacturing has played a significant role in Northeast Ohio’s recovery from economic recession and driven national and international investment in the region,” says Dr. Iryna Demko, a research associate with the Center for Economic Development , which is housed in CSU’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. “However, employment did not keep pace with GRP growth and remains a challenge that policymakers and economic development agencies need to target.”

Demko argues a focus should be placed on enhancing the skilled workforce through both robust STEM education initiatives and attraction campaigns designed to draw high skilled workers to the region. This will further growth in various industries, while providing stable, high-paying jobs that will help address employment stagnation.

“Advanced manufacturing in Northeast Ohio is clearly headed in the right direction, but emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring we have the skilled workers and resources needed to sustain this growth moving forward,” Demko adds.

The research was funded in part by the George Gund Foundation and the U.S. Economic Development Administration and is part of a series of reports produced by the Center for Economic Development on current trends in the regional economy.