Monday, January 23, 2017

Ohio's Development Success Owed To Manufacturing, Suburbs

Though it didn't make this column in 2016, I wanted to publish the findings of my annual review of the Site Selection magazine ranking of states on economic development.  This report was conducted in April 2016.

Ohio was #2 in the nation in 2015.  The conclusion, though, is clear:  Ohio owes its success to the manufacturing sector and to Ohio's suburbs.

Here's the findings for 2015:

89% of the manufacturing projects topping Ohio's list of development projects in 2015 happened outside of the three C's of Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati.  Indeed, 20 out of 21 projects with $50 million or more in capital investment happened outside of the 3C's.

Five years of data now show:

2015: 89%
2014: 95%
2013: 94%
2012: 94%
2011: 94%

Ohio's suburbs and rural areas accounted for 70% of Ohio projects overall.  That's a number that has never dropped below 2/3 since I started tracking it in 2008.

Licking County accounted for 10 projects in 2015 and four of them on the Port Authority's campus. If spec building investments were counted (they should be), we would have seen half of the development projects happen at the Aerospace Center.

Consistently, almost three out of four development projects in Ohio are sited outside of Cuyahoga, Hamilton, or Franklin counties.

Eight years of data now show:

2015: 70%
2014: 74%
2013: 72%
2012: 74%
2011: 68%
2010: 71%
2009: 73%
2008: 74%

Why do this?  It reinforces a message.  Ohio's economic strength is in her smaller communities. Density and bigness are not in the recipe for economic development success.  Any policy debate needs to recognize that cutting off the 'burbs means cutting off Ohio's source of success.


The source for 2016 data is from the Ohio Private Investment Survey.  Check it out for yourself.

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