On the Plus Side: Looking Back at 2012 in Northeast Ohio
As the cold sets in and we look forward to our yearly traditions – the holiday parties, the streets lined with lights, our time with family and the like – the end of the year often provides a time to reflect on the previous 12 months. While we do this in our personal lives, it’s also worth reflecting on what the last year has meant for our region. From the opening of marquee landmarks such as the Horseshoe Casino, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland, to the resurgence taking place in our downtown communities – from Cleveland to Akron– 2012 has been a pivotal year for Northeast Ohio.
While cities and regions across the country continue to recover from the latest economic downturn, there is a sense of renewed optimism surfacing throughout Northeast Ohio. The unemployment rate continues to improve, remaining below the national average, while the number of physical development projects taking shape continues to rise. With more than $12 billion in major capital investments being made, Northeast Ohio is experiencing an unprecedented period of growth – a promising sign for the region’s future.
In addition to the growth taking place around us, which we can tell by the cranes in the air and workers on the ground, the region is developing a vibrant, diversified economy, anchored by an array of industries. Manufacturing, long a mainstay of Northeast Ohio’s economy, is helping to lead the economic resurgence, employing some 600,000 Ohioans across the state. In fact, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio, along with Michigan and Indiana, posted the strongest manufacturing job gains from December 2009 to August 2012. This is encouraging news as manufacturing represents nearly 13 percent of Ohio’s total employment.
As the manufacturing sector adds jobs, another budding industry is progressively transforming Northeast Ohio’s economy – bioscience. According to the 2012 Ohio Bioscience Growth Report, Ohio’s bioscience sector grew nearly 34 percent from 2000 to 2011. What is more, Northeast Ohio is leading this growth, with 42 percent of the state’s bioscience companies located in the region. Not only are these companies adding jobs, they are adding high-paying jobs. Across Ohio, the bioscience industry generated $4.58 billion of payroll in 2011, with the average job paying $75,523. Shaped by world-class institutions and universities, Northeast Ohio is emerging as a bioscience and healthcare hub, a distinction that it will build upon in the years and decades ahead.
While industries like healthcare and manufacturing play a critical role in Northeast Ohio, the past year has shown that today’s entrepreneurs are also an essential component to the region’s future. Increasingly, entrepreneurs are starting their businesses in the region, lured by the strong entrepreneurial atmosphere that has emerged over the last several years. Perhaps even more important, venture capitalists are beginning to invest in Northeast Ohio’s startups at a significant rate. In fact, from 2007 – 2011, Northeast Ohio startups raised capital from 134 equity investors – 67 percent of these being based outside of Ohio. Over the same time period, 226 Northeast Ohio companies collectively attracted $961 million – a 133 percent increase from the previous five years.* As the region looks to compete with cities around the country and globe, the innovations emerging from Northeast Ohio will help propel the economy forward.
Ultimately, as we look back on this year, we should be encouraged by the many positive developments taking place throughout our region. While there is still much work to be done, this is an exciting time in Northeast Ohio’s history. Spurred by capital investments, a diversified and growing economy and a renewed sense of optimism, Northeast Ohio is poised for a bright and prosperous 2013.
If you are interested in learning more about the many developments that helped shape 2012, follow the links below to view our most read stories from the last year!
+Young Professionals Take Up Residence in Region’s Urban Centers
+A Revival in Youngstown
+Constructing an Economic Resurgence
+Horseshoe Casino Cleveland: A Bet on Northeast Ohio’s Future
+Made in American – And in the N-E-O (Northeast Ohio)
*Greater Cleveland Venture Capital Overview