Technology and Productivity Advance Manufacturing

Economic development groups collaborate to reveal state of manufacturing in Northeast Ohio

The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) and Team NEO released complementary reports at the 2020 State of Manufacturing City Club event:

  • MAGNET’s 2020 State of Manufacturing survey results are a compilation of insights from 673 manufacturing companies that responded to the fourth annual Ohio Manufacturing Survey (sponsored by Allegro Realty Advisors, Bank of America, and Barnes Wendling).  
  • In its latest Quarterly Economic Review, the only regular source of collective economic data and insights for the 18-county Northeast Ohio region, Team NEO showcases the influence of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), additive manufacturing and other new technologies on the rapidly changing face of manufacturing in Northeast Ohio.  

Statistics coming directly from the Ohio Manufacturing Survey include:

  • 56 percent of respondents said their company grew revenues in 2019, and 72 percent of respondents expect their revenues to grow in 2020.
  • 57 percent say their growth has been hampered by the lack of being able to attract skilled workers. 30 percent of respondents also cited the rising cost of health care as a hinderance to growth, with retirements (26 percent of respondents) and the rising cost of raw materials (25 percent of respondents) rounding out the top four obstacles to growth.  
  • The top three priorities for manufacturers in 2020 include retaining and developing current employees, as well as attracting new ones with 63 percent of respondents listing this as a top priority, while 49 percent are concerned about finding new customers/improving sales and marketing efforts. Efficiency rounds out the top three priorities with 30 percent of respondents being concerned with cutting operational costs.

“Our manufacturers are optimistic about the future and about growing this key economic engine for the state,” said Ethan Karp, MAGNET’s President and CEO. “Where they do face challenges, the problems are clear and solvable. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with these entrepreneurs on solutions that will allow them to make Ohio the world’s hub for advanced manufacturing.”    

Report findings from Team NEO’s Quarterly Economic Review demonstrate that the $42.6 billion manufacturing industry is critical to Northeast Ohio’s economy, making up 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The industry continues to evolve as innovation impacts operations. We are now producing more with fewer workers (productivity per worker was 50 percent higher in 2019 than in 2001). However, workers are still in demand due to occupation growth and replacement needs. Indeed, more than 46,200 annual job openings are projected each year. The 673 companies that responded to MAGNET’s survey reported 8,000 current openings statewide.

Other key findings from Team NEO’s research team include:

  • Exports play an important role in economic growth
    • Manufactured goods produced in Northeast Ohio but sold outside the region flow new dollars into the economy. Northeast Ohio has a higher Location Quotient (LQ) in ten subsectors of manufacturing, indicating deep supply chains and a robust talent pool.
  • The largest occupations include traditional roles and technology talent needs
    • Of the top 10 occupations, laborers and materials movers top the list. However, computer control programmers and operators also make the top 10.

“Our research demonstrates that Northeast Ohio is attractive for manufacturers as we have a deep supply chain, high productivity rate and high concentration of export activity,” noted Team NEO CEO Bill Koehler. “A strong manufacturing base is vital to help drive our economy into the future.”

Team NEO publishes the Quarterly Economic Review to provide a holistic picture of Northeast Ohio’s economy. 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, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and Ohio’s Labor Marketing Information to aggregate regional figures.

About Team NEO

Team NEO is a private, nonprofit economic development organization accelerating business growth and job creation throughout the 18 counties of Northeast Ohio. As the designated JobsOhio Network Partner, we align and amplify local economic development efforts in Northeast Ohio’s 18-county region; we conduct research and data analysis to inform local conversations and influence solutions; we market Northeast Ohio as a region; and we work to increase access to jobs, education and training for the region’s 4.3 million people. For more information, visit


MAGNET’s mission is to help manufacturers grow and compete in Northeast Ohio, especially the 98 percent of startup to medium-sized manufacturers that drive our economy. MAGNET rolls up its sleeves to provide hands-on support ranging from new product design to operations and brings education and business together to create tomorrow’s manufacturers. Visit for more information.