Northeast Ohio’s Food and Manufacturing Employment Growth Outpaces the Nation

Report reveals projected employment increases over the next decade

Food and beverage manufacturing employment grew 21 percent in Northeast Ohio from 2007 to 2016, compared to 5 percent nationwide, reports the quarterly Cleveland Plus Economic Review released today by Team Northeast Ohio (Team NEO). This growth is expected to continue over the next decade, with projections of 14 percent growth for NEO and 10 percent growth for the U.S. as a whole.

“As employment for many other manufacturing sectors declined from 2007 to 2016, food manufacturing employment grew to almost 22,000 employees as major brands continue to thrive in the region,” said Team NEO CEO Bill Koehler. “Over the past five years, 39 food-related companies have made investments here.”

In fact, the state of Ohio is thriving in food and agricultural businesses. “Our robust value chain, proximity to markets, abundance of fresh water and access to efficient energy are just some of the reasons Ohio is one of the top agribusiness states in the nation,” noted Joe Needham, JobsOhio Director, Food and Agribusiness.

Northeast Ohio has contributed to this strength with gross regional product (GRP) growth of 9.5 percent from 2007 to 2016; the U.S. saw an 11-percent decline over this same time period.

Other notable economic indicators related to Northeast Ohio’s 18 counties include:

  • Total employment is at 1.935 million.
    • Employment has increased by 11,800 jobs year-over-year.
  • The unemployment rate has increased year-over-year.
    • NEO unemployment averaged 5.4 percent in Q3 2016, an increase from 4.7 percent in Q3 2015.
  • The services sector has grown year-over-year.
    • The services sector has added almost 13,000 jobs since Q3 2015.
  • Well production activity continues to grow.
    • There are 1,022 wells in production statewide.

Team NEO publishes the Cleveland Plus Economic Review quarterly to provide a holistic picture of Northeast Ohio’s economy. It is the only regular source of collective economic data for the 18-county region. The nonprofit organization uses this information to attract new businesses and jobs to Northeast Ohio and help those that are here grow.

Team NEO uses Moody’s and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and Ohio’s Labor Marketing Information to aggregate regional figures.

About Team NEO

Team NEO is an economic development organization focused on creating jobs for Northeast Ohio residents. In collaboration with our partners, it leads the region’s business attraction efforts, supports business retention and expansion work as Northeast Ohio’s JobsOhio affiliate, accelerates the impact of innovation in the region, and aligns strategies and resources within the economic development network to maximize its impact. In addition, Team NEO provides tools to assist employers in attracting talent to the region. For more information, visit

About JobsOhio

JobsOhio is a private, nonprofit corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention and expansion efforts. JobsOhio works with six regional partners across Ohio: Appalachian Partnership for Economic GrowthColumbus 2020Dayton Development CoalitionREDI CincinnatiRegional Growth Partnership and Team NEO. Learn more at  Follow us on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.