CNN Money just reported that Ohio’s manufacturing industry, the largest sector in the state, is ramping up production and employment.
Hard hit by the recent recession, the Buckeye State’s economic health played a pivotal role in the Super Tuesday election as voters chose Romney (R) as nominee for president in hope for further change favorable to the country. While new jobs are crucial, so are skilled workers to fill them.
Return of the auto and oil industries, and the labor shortage in Ohio
President of the Ohio Manufacturers Association, Eric Burkland, stated that manufacturing is driving Ohio’s recovery. Investment in new facilities and technology has redefined productivity, and while fewer people are needed on the factory floor, firms are still adding workers.
Ohio’s manufacturing sector growth is being revived by the forecasted return of the auto industry, which is predicted to add about 200,000 jobs to the Midwest within the next four years. Auto parts suppliers are also expected to increase hiring. Even with replacement hires of retiring workers, the job growth in the auto industry will remain at nearly 170,000 jobs split among Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.
According to sales tracker Autodata, sales of new cars rose about 14%, the best since September 2008. Analysts believe that the momentum will continue through next year. This is good news for Ohio’s economy, provided that the gap for skilled labor can be filled.
Growth in U.S. energy production and the demand for the export of steel and building materials abroad are also contributing to the surge in manufacturing.
Ohio is set for a potential oil boom which will make it the sixth largest oil producing state for domestic supply. The potential boom, if drilling regulations can be decided, is thanks to new drilling technology called fracking. If properly developed, Ohio could be producing up to 200,000 barrels of crude per day by end of the decade. In addition to bolstering tax revenue by half a billion dollars, the number of jobs in the oil industry would reach in the thousands.
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