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Ohio economy 'has never performed better'

Brooke DiPalma
Associate Producer

Ohio’s economy continues to heat up as the state’s unemployment rate reaches 4.1%.

The Buckeye State’s economy “has never performed better,” J.P. Nauseeff, president and CEO of JobsOhio, the state’s economic development organization, told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move, “Ohio is at full employment and we’re even adding manufacturing jobs.” He said that the state is also diversifying the economy and introducing health innovation.

In April 2009, the state ranked 8th for the highest unemployment rate across the United States at 10.2%, trailing not too far behind states like Nevada, North Carolina and Carolina. Since then companies like Root Insurance and CoverMyMeds, have created headquarters in the midwestern state. Nauseeff attributes Ohio’s location, cost of living and workforce to the company’s decision to choose Ohio as a home base.

“Some of these businesses might get their invention or their first capital in a larger market, but to scale, you can scale affordably” in Ohio, Naueeff said, “You can find diversity in the industries, diversity in the communities. We’re not dominated by one or two large cities, we have some large cities, but we have small towns and a relatively low cost of living so it’s really a great place for families.” He also makes note of the two hundred institutions of higher learning available statewide, like Ohio State, that are allowing the opportunity “for people to get educated and for employers to invest if they want a strong workforce.”

But keep in mind, it’s not new that major companies are flocking to Ohio to set up a home base. Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), Big Lots (BIG), Eaton Corporation (ETN) Good Year (GT), L Brands, Inc. (LB), Macy’s (M), Kroger (KR), Procter & Gamble (PG), The Sherwin-Williams Company (SHW), among many others, have headquarters in major cities, including Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and New Albany, across the state.

Ohio reaches unemployment rate of 4.1% in September of 2019. (Courtesy: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services)

Impact of US-China trade war on Ohio

As tensions continue to grow between the U.S. and China, Ohio is taking a hit, especially within its largest industry — the food and agriculture industry. Each year, the overall industry brings in $105 billion dollars to Ohio’s economy.

“In pockets, there have been some impacts in agriculture,” Nauseeff said. “For instance, the soybean (S=F) market.” Each year soybean production brings in nearly $5.3 billion dollars for the overall economy statewide. Nauseeff also noted that “companies like Cargill are investing in infrastructure that uses soybeans as byproduct.”

“We’re also seeing some changes to our investment pipeline that would indicate that importing, raw materials and manufacturing are slowing down a bit and just assembly is occurring because of the nature of the negotiation on the tariffs and how all those impact the raw materials,” he said.

Brooke DiPalma is a producer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma.

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