So much for the rust belt Featured

10:00am EDT July 22, 2002

The number of manufacturing jobs and production facilities increased statewide last year in every area but Northeast Ohio. The net loss to the region—which includes Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Solon, Elyria, Mentor, Twinsburg and Lorain—was a whopping 82 facilities last year, which took 342 jobs with them.

The area, however, remains the dominant employer of manufacturing jobs in the state. It’s an odd predicament, considering that the overall climate for manufacturers in Ohio has been positive.

For the second year in a row, the number of manufacturers and manufacturing jobs has gone up. According to the 1999 Ohio Manufacturers Directory, Ohio has 22,760 facilities which employ 1,244,769 people, nearly 22,000 more than last year.

A closer look reveals why Northeast Ohio is taking a hit.

“Manufacturing jobs are leaving the big cities for the suburbs and rural areas,” explains Thomas Dubin, president of Manufacturing News, which published the report. “Twenty years ago, a manufacturer needed the labor pool, transportation and support industries that only the major cities could provide. Now companies have many more options, and are locating their plants in whichever municipality is most cost effective.”