Jobs grounded in science and technology continue to grow in the Dayton area, with auto part manufacturing leading the way with a nearly 10 percent increase in employment the past two years, a new study shows.
The Dayton area’s growth in high-paying advanced industries jobs also includes employment increases in the field of computer systems design and related jobs from 2013 to 2015, a Brookings Institute study show.
The Dayton area had 7,187 computer system related jobs in 2015, a 4.7 percent increase from 2013.
“There’s a strong concentration of these industries in the Dayton area,” said David Hart, a senior fellow for Brookings.
Of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, the Dayton area ranks 24th in its share of advanced industries jobs compared to its total employment, the study shows.
Advanced industries jobs are science and technology-intensive and mostly involve advanced manufacturing, computer design, architectural work, engineering and more.
The burgeoning presence of Fuyao Glass America in Moraine has helped the growth. Brookings found that in 2015, the Dayton area had 3,715 motor vehicle parts manufacturing jobs, a 9.2. percent increase from two years before.
That number will almost certainly be higher in 2016. Fuyao Glass America may meet or exceed 2,000 jobs at its Moraine plant by the end of 2016, the company’s leaders have said.
The Dayton area had nearly 40,000 advanced industries jobs in 2015, ranking it 56th nationally.
These types of jobs “reflect Dayton’s history and its heritage — mechanical industries, the Wright Brothers and all that,”Hall said. “It’s not surprising.”
Researchers at the University of Dayton Research Institute see it every day. Adam Hicks, an additive manufacturing research scientist at UDRI, cites the area’s strong relationship with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Air Force Research Laboratory headquartered there.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Hicks said.
Brian Rice, a materials scientist at UDRI, said the area’s strength goes beyond the Air Force to the concentration of businesses serving auto makers, auto suppliers and other manufacturers.
“There are a lot of small businesses that do a lot of small business innovation,” Rice said.
Beyond Dayton, the Brookings report found that advanced manufacturing is defying global sluggishness and the slow shrinking of traditional manufacturing over the last two years.
Advanced manufacturing continued to add jobs, even as other manufacturing sectors suffered, Brookings said.
Despite the stagnant period right after the Great Recession, advanced manufacturing industries nationally added more than 132,000 jobs in 2013–2015, which amounted to 20 percent of all advanced-sector employment growth, the study found.
About 70 percent of that growth was found in three auto-focused industries, Brookings said: motor vehicle parts, motor vehicles, and motor vehicle body and trailers.
“Look, if you survived the Great Recession, you’re an advanced manufacturer,” said Angelia Erbaugh, executive director of the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association. “You had to be. You had to be in order to survive.”
These are companies who have fine-tuned their capabilities, found new markets to serve and became more efficient, Erbaugh said.
While Erbaugh called Fuyao an “amazing story,” she noted that San Diego-based NuVasive is looking for 200 new workers for a spinal implants manufacturing plant in West Carrollton.
This year, DRMA hopes to have 45 manufacturers open their doors to 4,000 visiting students for Manufacturing Day, a career-awareness day held on the first Friday each October.
Marty Hohenberger, vice president of development for the Dayton Development Coalition, agreed that it’s easy to see advanced industry successes here just in the past few years, citing the GE Aviation Episcenter on the University of Dayton campus, the Emerson Climate Technologies Helix, NuVasive and others.
Making sure those outside of Dayton know about those successes is “just one of our jobs here, one of our important responsibilities,” he said.