The Global Center for Health Innovation is a new addition the city's biomedical sector. Photo courtesy of Cleveland+

Why is Cleveland's Manufacturing Sector Growing?

Sept. 3, 2014
Manufacturing is 'regaining its footing,' and Northeast Ohio is poised to 'benefit from growth in the region’s energy exploration business,' says new study.

In the first two years of the recovery, manufacturing accounted for nearly half of all job gains in Cleveland.  And this trend will continue, according to Mark Vitner, managing director at Wells Fargo. His company, which released a study earlier this month about the manufacturing sector, points outs that manufacturing is “regaining its footing,” and Northeast Ohio is poised to “benefit from growth in the region’s energy exploration business.”

In 2013, the area recruited a record high 16 new or expanded operations including expansions by Nestle USA, Six C Fabrications, Pepperidge Farm and Cristal USA, according to Team Northeast Ohio.

The report does sound a note of a concern with regard to the steel producers in Cleveland. These companies need to be able to compete with low-cost imports, says the report, citing the recent U.S. Department of Commerce action of placing duties on imports of tubular steel from South Korea and eight other nations.

However overall the outlook for the region is positive.

“Employment growth remains exceptionally modest today but appears to be taking a turn for the better,” Vitner said in his analysis of Cleveland’s economy. “The nearly simultaneous announcements that Cleveland will host the 2016 Republican National Convention and that LeBron James will rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA team has lifted the spirits of the area and helped focus attention on the positive attributes of Northeast Ohio.”

The report offers an overall summary of the city’s future.

Changes to Cleveland’s economy are more than cosmetic. The industrial sector has been bolstered by the recovery of the nation’s motor vehicle industry and other parts of the factory sector are doing better as well.

The region has also become more diverse. The biomedical industry has recovered its losses from the recession and account for a larger share of the economy.

Despite recent downsizing at the Cleveland Clinic and cost cutting in the industry in general, the longer-run trajectory should be a positive one, thanks to additional health care coverage and an aging population. More jobs could result from new facilities meant to foster innovation in the industry.

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