New data shows manufacturing’s growth

Dayton Region Manufacturers Association counts more workers and higher payroll than 2017

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Manufacturers in a 12-county West Central Ohio area employ 129,166 workers, nearly 15% of the region’s workforce, according to statistics release this week by the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association (DRMA).

The association counts 2,458 manufacturers in that region, employers who have had an average of 4,164 monthly job openings.

The DRMA puts the total annual payroll of that workforce at $9.8 billion, or 16.2% of the region’s total annual payroll.

That’s a slightly higher number of workers and a higher payroll than what the DRMA’s data partner counted four years ago, the last time the association released similar statistics.

“The Dayton, Ohio, region’s manufacturing industry is one of the largest, most highly developed centers in the United States,” the association said in a statement accompanying the data. “The unique and compelling nature of the industry is a result of cutting-edge technology, sophisticated processes, and a highly-skilled workforce.”

“Supported by the region’s 40 colleges and universities, abundant water and transportation resources, and an incredible knack for innovation, manufacturing is one of the most significant contributors to economic development in the region,” DRMA said. “Dayton-area manufacturing is globally competitive for businesses entering or expanding in the region.”

The statistics were released a few days after auto parts producer Tenneco Inc. said it would close its Kettering plant before the end of 2023, affecting some 650 people who work there today.

“We have seen significant growth in all aspects of manufacturing in the Dayton region over the past several years,” DRMA President Angelia Erbaugh said. “The industry is trending up in terms of the number of companies in the region, the number of employees, the total annual payroll, and investments in the region. Manufacturing remains as strong as ever in the Dayton region.”

The DRMA service region has no geographic boundaries. In 2017, the last time similar numbers were released, Wright State University counted employers in 14 counties; for this year’s report, data was collected by the Dayton Development Coalition from 12 counties, the association said.

But in 2017, the association counted 2,476 companies with 123,892 employees with an $8.8 billion annual payroll.

According to the Federal Reserve, 43,900 people worked in manufacturing in the Dayton metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in February 2020 — before dropping to 34,700 in April 2020, with the onset of COVID-19.

The Dayton MSA consists of about 800,000 residents in Montgomery, Greene and Miami counties, a far smaller region than the 12-county area the DRMA used for its data this year.

The Dayton MSA had 41,300 workers employed in manufacturing as of September 2021, according to the Federal Reserve.

In September 1990, 80,000 people worked in manufacturing in Dayton’s MSA.

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