Tim Feran
Columbus Dispatch

Ohio lost almost a third of its high-technology manufacturing jobs during the past decade, part of a national trend of sending both manufacturing and research jobs overseas, according to a new study.


The state ranks sixth in high-tech manufacturing jobs with 78,349, just behind Massachusetts. California has the most, with 372,345.


“Over the last decade, the world has changed dramatically,” said Jose-Marie Griffiths, chairman of the committee that oversaw production of the report.


“It’s now a different world with very different actors who have made advancement in science and technology a top priority. And many of the troubling trends we’re seeing are now very well-established.”


Ohio lost 29.2 percent of its high-tech manufacturing jobs during the past decade, while the United States overall lost 25.5 percent, according to the study by a division of the National Science Foundation.


In real numbers, that translates into the loss of 32,317 jobs in Ohio, from a peak of 110,000, and 619,000 jobs nationally, from a peak of 2.4 million.


The recession of 2001 caused the first big hit in employment numbers, and the squeeze from the recent recession has continued that slide, the report said.


The loss of manufacturing jobs has a ripple effect in Ohio, said Jim Coons, a Columbus economist and president of J.W. Coons Advisors.


“One of the under-?appreciated characteristics of the Ohio economy is the effect of manufacturing on nonmanufacturing jobs,” he said. “With fewer manufacturing jobs, that affects employment in nonmanufacturing sectors. So there’s a feedback effect.


“Those countries are creating an advantage for their firms that’s difficult to compete with.”


While manufacturing jobs were being outsourced, so, too, were research-and-development jobs.


The study found that U.S. multinational corporations created R&D jobs overseas at “an unprecedented rate” over the past decade while growing such jobs at a much slower rate at home.


Since 2004, research jobs overseas ballooned to 27 percent of all such jobs at U.S. multinational companies, up from 14 percent in 1994.


And, while the United States spent $400 billion on research and development in 2009, the most of any single nation, for the first time China and other Asian countries nearly matched the U.S. expenditure, spending $399 billion on such research.


The report tied foreign nations’ investment in education and research to the accelerating pace of sending U.S. research and development jobs overseas.


“The policies of Asian governments appear to be paying off for them,” said Rolf Lehming, director of the report.


“We’re seeing the result in the very real, and substantial, loss of good jobs,” Griffiths said.


The United States’ losses in the high-tech sector were China’s economic gain, the study said.


However, the tech news isn’t all bad at least for the future, said Tim Haynes, interim president and chief executive of tech-business incubator TechColumbus.


He noted a report out last fall shows there is a shortage of technology talent and that demand has grown over the past five years and is expected to continue for the next five years.