Published by Nerdwallet on May 4, 2015
By: Jonathan Todd, CFA
Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Ohio occupied the center of America’s industrial heart. The burgeoning United States economy couldn’t get enough of the region’s cars and steel, and in turn, Ohio and other states provided a virtually endless stream of jobs in its workshops and factories.
In the second half of the 20th century, however, the region fell into decline, as manufacturing output required less labor input, and companies left the Great Lakes states for the warmer climes of the Sun Belt. The entire region was categorized economically dead as factories closed and traditionally middle-class manufacturing jobs disappeared.
But what really happened wasn’t quite that simple. Although it’s true the number of manufacturing jobs has declined, Ohio remains one of the country’s most productive states. Photos of rusted, abandoned factories paint a dire picture, but companies and communities adjusted, and the Ohio economy proved to be more resilient and dynamic than portrayed.
The economy has changed, but several trends show that Ohio is anything but in decline: