Personal View: Ohio budget should aim to add to manufacturing’s momentum
Ryan Augsburger Ohio manufacturers have made headlines in recent years, despite a global pandemic and massive labor shortage. The sector has added more well-paying jobs and invested hundreds of billions of dollars in the Buckeye State. With a new industrial revolution underway — coupled with ongoing supply shortages and shifting geopolitical relations — experts say this could be the most important time in Ohio’s storied manufacturing history. Data collected by the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association reinforce that claim. The OMA’s “2023 Ohio Manufacturing Counts” — available at ohiomfg.com — shows that manufacturing leads the state’s private sector with an annual GDP of more than $130 billion. Ohio is third in the U.S. for manufacturing employees (more than 690,000) and manufacturing payroll ($44 billion). Ohioans on manufacturing payrolls earned an average of $67,000 as of 2021 (the most recent year available) — and an average of almost $31 an hour as of October 2022. “Manufacturing Counts” also highlights the economic importance of manufacturing in the Cleveland area. With 1,568 manufacturing establishments , Cuyahoga County is No. 1 among Ohio’s 88 counties for manufacturing businesses. Those businesses employ nearly 65,000 individuals . Another 28,200 Ohioans are employed in manufacturing in next-door Summit County. This show of manufacturing strength is good news for every Ohioan, regardless of the sector in which they are employed. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, for every dollar of value added by manufacturing, another $2.60 of economic activity is produced elsewhere in the economy. For every manufacturing job, another 3.4 are created in non-manufacturing industries. In short, manufacturing is Ohio’s largest wealth creator. Ohio manufacturing’s recent progress has been made possible, in part, by the vision and hard work of elected leaders who took bold steps to make Ohio the best state in which to manufacture. To maintain this momentum, and take advantage of ongoing reshoring efforts, Ohio must continue to enhance its competitiveness, especially in areas such as workforce development. Recently, Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled his biennium budget. The OMA was pleased to see that it proposes additional investment in Ohio’s career-technical education, workforce training (like Ohio TechCred ), new innovation hubs, and infrastructure to attract economic development — while continuing to focus on fiscal responsibility. The governor’s budget also calls for an increase in resources for Ohio’s statewide network of industry sector partnerships . These partnerships — like Workforce Connect Manufacturing Sector Partnership in Cuyahoga County — allow manufacturers to implement regional talent strategies. The OMA makes clear in its “Workforce Roadmap” that continued investment in Ohio’s workers is critical as we keep adding 21st century manufacturing jobs. Upskilling manufacturing employees will increase prosperity in our communities, both urban and rural. As state policymakers begin their work on Ohio’s next budget, the OMA urges them to seize the opportunities before us. Augsburger is president of the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, which represents about 1,500 manufacturers statewide.
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