Manufacturing — hit hard in the United States during the Great Recession — will continue to give a big boost to Northeast Ohio’s recovery.
That’s the message of a report being released today by economic development group Team NEO.
Between 2010 and 2020, manufacturing output in the 18-county Northeast Ohio area is expected to grow 39 percent, outpacing national growth, the report said.
The report looked at manufacturing gross regional product (the value of goods and services, adjusted for inflation) and projected it will grow to being a $43 billion sector of the region’s economy by 2020. It was a $31 billion sector in 2010, Team NEO said.
Plastics and rubber manufacturing in the region is a key industry fueling the area’s growth. It’s expected to grow at the fastest rate — 104 percent — among all manufacturing sectors, and become an almost $5 billion sector.
Look to the new Röchling Automotive USA plant in Springfield Township for an example of growth in the plastics industry.
About 50 workers are employed at the highly automated Springfield plant, making plastic auto parts. The Röchling Automotive USA products include panels that cover the bottom of vehicles, reducing drag and increasing fuel efficiency.
Sandy Schmidt, commercial manager for Röchling Automotive USA, said the Springfield plant is expanding, about doubling its size to about 150,000 square feet.
Schmidt said the company, headquartered in South Carolina, expects to beat its original forecast of having 130 employees at the plant by the end of this year. The business is a part of German plastics conglomerate Röchling.
Overall, however, manufacturing employment in the region is expected to be essentially flat, with manufacturers gaining productivity — producing more with fewer workers — over the next eight years, said Jacob Duritsky, Team NEO’s director of business attraction.
An earlier report from Team NEO said the vaunted manufacturing sector — which has bled jobs in the region and the state for decades — employed about 268,000 workers in the region in 2012, and will see a slight decrease (fewer than 4,000 jobs) in employment by 2020.
“We still do make things in Northeast Ohio” said Jenny Febbo, Team NEO vice president of marketing. “We just make them more efficiently,” as industry sectors shift from traditional manufacturing to advanced manufacturing.
The Team NEO report said the area’s rubber and plastics industry is among key sectors projected to grow more quickly than the national rate. Other key sectors expected to fuel the growth include chemicals (with a projected 67 percent increase in gross regional product by 2020) and food (with a projected 24 percent increase in gross regional product).
Fabricated metal manufacturing is expected to remain the biggest Northeast Ohio manufacturing sector, with a projected 47 percent increase in gross regional product by 2020, the report said.
The Team NEO report — the group’s latest quarterly economic review — also included current employment data. Team NEO said total employment in the region stood at 2.04 million workers for the fourth quarter of 2012. That’s about the same as the fourth quarter of 2011.
Team NEO, with offices in Cleveland, uses Moody’s Economy.com and other data sources for its quarterly economic reviews. The reviews are available online at www.clevelandplusbusiness.com.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.