STATE FOCUS – Ohio: Slow And Steady

The addition of the Residence Inn and Eastwood Banquet Center to the Eastwood Mall in Niles will make travelers’ visits to the Valley more convenient and comfortable.

By Dominique Cantelme
From the July/August 2013 issue

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2012 Ohio had a projected GDP nominal of $509.39 billion, up from $490.26 billion in 2011. And economic projections featured in the most recent quarterly report from JPMorgan Chase and Co.’s commercial banking anticipate the state’s real GDP (adjusted for inflation, it is the output of all goods and services produced by workers and property in the state) to increase to $443 billion in 2013, an increase of 3 percent from $430 billion in 2012. U.S. Department of Labor data indicates that the last time Ohio’s real GDP exceeded $443 billion was in 2005.

According to the Dayton Daily News, Jim Glassman, managing director and senior economist with commercial banking at JPMorgan Chase, reports that the growth of Ohio’s real GDP “will be faster this year and the next in large part to the rebound of the U.S. automotive market,” and that “other contributing factors include the large amount of oil and gas exploration and extraction taking place in the eastern part of the state and the return of manufacturing.”

While Ohio is considered a center of science and industry, it also retains historically strong industries such as banking and R&D as well as traditional industries such as agriculture. Ohio is the biggest manufacturer of plastics and rubber in the country and with a total of 27, Ohio is home to the 5th most Fortune 500 companies, including Cardinal Health (#19), Kroger (#23) and Marathon Petroleum (#33).

Ohio made a number of appearances in Business Facilities’ 2012 State Rankings report, reaching 7th for Automotive Manufacturing Strength and Best Education Climate; 4th for Economic Growth Potential, Race to the Top Leaders and Best Transportation Infrastructure; and 10th for Workforce Health and Safety. Ohio also had three schools—Case Western Reserve University, Ohio State University and Miami University-Oxford—in the top 100 of U.S. News and World Report’s 2013 National University Rankings and four—Oberlin College, Kenyon College, Denison University and College of Wooster—in their top 100 of National Liberal Arts Colleges. [For BF‘s 2013 State Rankings, see this link].

Citing seasonally adjusted estimates, Jim Glassman advises that “Ohio will add almost 97,000 jobs between November 2012 and December 2013, bringing total nonfarm payroll employment to 5.29 million,” and that the job growth will help push the state’s unemployment rate to about 6.8 percent in 2013 and 6.7 percent in 2014. Unemployment was approximately 7.2 percent in 2012, 8.6 percent in 2011 and 10 percent in 2010.

Overall, reports indicate that Ohio’s economy is forecast to match the pace of the national recovery in the year to come but it’s possible that the following areas are on an even faster track.


The Youngstown/Warren community played a significant role in America’s steel production boom for most of the 20th century. That heritage has gifted them with a legacy of strong work ethic, infrastructure, engineering, research and skilled labor—all of which will expedite a business’s successful growth.

As the lead economic development organization representing Ohio’s Mahoning and Trumbull counties, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber is the single point of contact for all business-related services. The Chamber’s Economic Development division provides a broad range of expert, confidential and proven economic development services. The division assists companies in identifying available buildings or land sites in the region’s cities, villages and townships; securing state and local incentives; and obtaining a variety of strategic information. And the organization strives to diversify the region’s economy to ensure sustainability. Below is just a snapshot of what they’ve been able to accomplish through the regional teamwork that the Youngstown-Warren area is known for (see chart below).


 20122011Since 1994
Projects Completed2520457
Total Investment$376,603,675$207,638,000$3,209,529,641
New Jobs Created1,33983320,799
Jobs Retained/Maintained 4,7411,04827,414

The Regional Chamber’s Economic Development team attracted several companies to the region in 2012. Among the team’s wins for the area was the attraction of Exterran, which recently completed construction and began operating a 65,000-square-foot production facility in Youngstown, a $13 million investment that created more than 100 manufacturing jobs in the oil and gas industry supply chain.

And after months of work, the Regional Chamber landed Penn National’s Hollywood Mahoning Valley Race Course in Austintown Township. The $125 million investment will create approximately 1,000 construction jobs and 1,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities in the entertainment industry once the 150,000-square-foot facility is operational.

Additionally, the Cleveland-Pittsburgh TechBelt Initiative—an initiative the Regional Chamber has taken a particular interest in as the physical center point of the TechBelt—served as the catalyst for the application team that won a $70 million Department of Defense-led National Research Center for Additive Manufacturing. The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, or NAMII, opened its doors in September 2012 and has since been redefining the TechBelt as the place where next-generation manufacturing research will thrive, with Youngstown-Warren as the center point.

Through a partnership with Ohio Commerce Center (OCC) and ms consultants, inc., the Regional Chamber won a $2 million Job Ready Site Grant for rail, road and bridge improvements at the OCC industrial site in Lordstown. Improvements like these will serve to make the site and the region even more attractive to companies looking to locate or expand.

The retention and expansion of existing jobs is a huge part of what the Economic Development team does. In 2012, the team made 1,084 one-on-one retention and expansion visits to local companies. One of the resulting projects is the Cafaro Company’s $14 million expansion project at the Eastwood Mall Complex in Niles, with which Regional Chamber staff provided assistance. Construction is currently underway on the Residence Inn by Marriott and the upscale Eastwood Banquet Center, which will provide easy access to the mall’s amenities for travelers, as well as a first-class stay in the region.

The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber assisted BP in selecting its new facility in North Jackson that will serve as an office and logistics center for the company’s efforts in the Valley. They also aided Appalachian Railcar Services in locating multiple sites throughout the Valley to serve the rail industry.

As the oil and natural gas industry has begun to play a larger role in the Valley’s economy, the Chamber has turned its attention to attracting more industry players and assisting Chamber members in becoming involved in the industry’s supply chain. The Chamber grew the Youngstown, Ohio, Utica and Natural Gas (YOUNG) Conference & Expo from a one-day event in 2011 to a three-day event in 2012 and added several events to the YOUNG series throughout the year, including the highly successful YOUNG Golf Outing and YOUNG Shale Supply Chain Symposium. The YOUNG Series allows shale industry players to meet and network with local business leaders and discuss future opportunities in the Utica and Marcellus plays.

Along with several other shale-related activities, Chamber staff visited 13 companies and agencies in Houston in December to promote the strengths of investing in the Valley.

The Regional Chamber’s International Attraction division was busy in 2012, as well, having created and brokered a Memorandum of Understanding between Power Plaza Co., Ltd. of South Korea and Youngstown State University’s Research Foundation for electric vehicle technology research. Through this division, the Regional Chamber also developed and hosted the first TechBelt Export Summit, bringing the Obama Administration’s two highest-ranking export officials to Youngstown-Warren.

With such a successful year behind them, the Regional Chamber is working hard to make 2013 and the coming years an even greater success. Over the next 12 to 24 months, they hope to realize domestic and foreign project investment totaling more than $740 million, to create more than 1,200 new jobs with nearly $50 million in new payroll. These projects also will construct or absorb more than 2 million square feet of industrial space. And five different countries could potentially provide foreign investment into the metro area. The Regional Chamber’s Economic Development team is excited to work toward these goals and the ultimate goal of making the Youngstown-Warren, Ohio region a place where businesses thrive and grow.


Located in the heart of Central Ohio, Marion offers businesses and industrial companies all of the advantages of a major market area without the frustrations that affect quality of life.

In fact, Marion is home to:

  • Robotics leadership: The National Robotics Challenge, Robotworx (a robotics company that integrates new and used robotics for industrial automation), The Robotics School and The VEX Robotics Competition
  • Healthcare innovators: medical device manufacturers, healthcare facilities, medical research and outpatient services
  • First, second and third tier manufacturing for robotics, medical device, food manufacturing, industrial and more
  • Incredibly efficient logistics with rail, interstate, flexible warehousing and freight transportation Agribusiness: Not only growing, but processing and shipping. Marion is home to Wyandot, ConAgra and General Mills operators
  • The largest dryer manufacturing plant in the world. Whirlpool’s Marion Division produces 22,000 dryers per day
  • Educational institutions that include The Ohio State University at Marion, Marion Technical College, Tri Rivers Educational Computer Association and Tri Rivers Career center
  • A ready and able workforce with skills to match your specific needs

During his presidential campaign, Marion’s own Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the United States, had a way of making folks feel right at home in the city. Today, its forward thinking economic development leaders continue the tradition by making sure businesses can find just what they’re looking for when locating and growing in central Ohio. They can choose from a wide array of flexible sites, commercial properties and industrial parks as well as available industrial buildings, warehousing and greenfield sites.

  • The Marion Airport Industrial Park has shovel ready sites with access to the Marion airport.
  • Dual Rail Industrial Park has 90 acres of shovel ready sites plus CSX and Norfolk Southern rail. Existing companies in the park are US Yachiyo, Arcelormittal, Marion Industries and Sakamura.
  • The 450-acre Marion Industrial Center (MIC) has 1.8 million square feet under roof for distribution and warehousing.

Government, finance, utilities and business leaders joined together as a team to welcome business with open arms. Marion CAN DO! is a one-stop business development center. The greater Marion Community Area New Development Organization, Inc. can answer your questions as fast as you can ask them: on sites, infrastructure, costs, financial incentives, labor, transportation, schools, housing and quality of life. With no red tape . . . just a red carpet.

Marion County is a productive “micropolitan” community a short drive (just 45 minutes) north of Columbus. It is large enough to have all the infrastructure, shopping and recreational amenities, yet small enough to retain hometown values and a strong work ethic—an ethic that makes the labor force a point of pride.

Marion is located in the center of the North American Trade Market with easy accessibility by rail (CSX and Norfolk Southern), truck (MIC’s Intermodal Facility); air (Marion Municipal Airport and Port Columbus International Airport); and highway (US 23, a major north-south four-lane highway) making it an ideal choice for distribution and warehousing. About 65 percent of the entire U.S and Canadian populations are within 650 miles of Marion.