By SARAH ROSS
Erie County Economic Development Corp.
When recession struck the United States in 2007, the nation’s manufacturing industry suffered losses in employment and output as consumers cut back spending. But with the recession nine years behind us, Erie County has not just rebounded, its outpacing the region and the U.S. in manufacturing employment and output.
The 1990s and 2000s brought much technological advancement to the manufacturing industry. Employment levels declined, but the technical skills and expertise in the industry dramatically increased. Most people don’t realize that during this time period of employment loss, manufacturing output actually increased. Companies were advancing their products, processes and talent. This rich history and expertise has meant a quick recovery for Erie County post 2007 (Manufacturing Employment has Recovered from Recession Levels). The industry remains Erie County’s largest industry in both terms of employment and gross regional product (GRP), followed by accommodation and food service and the healthcare industry.
Total Erie County GRP was $4.3 billion in 2017. This is a growth of 60 percent since 1990, a performance that outpaces Northeast Ohio by 12 percent (Manufacturing Output in Erie Co. Outpacing NEO and United States). Manufacturing specifically made up $1.6 Billion of this total GRP. This is equivalent to Real Estate & Rental & Leasing, Health Care & Social Assistance, Retail Trade, Accommodation & Food Services, and Arts; Entertainment; & Recreation combined. Even as our economy becomes more balanced with a wide range of professional opportunities, we know manufacturing will remain an economic powerhouse for the region. GRP is projected to grow another 14 percent in the next decade with manufacturing approaching the $1.8 billion mark. Looking to the future, this is an ideal time to utilize advancing technology and economic development tools to leverage growth in the manufacturing industry.
Sarah Ross is program manager for the Erie County Economic Development Corp., eriecountyedc.org, 419-627-7794.