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Center for Economic Development


Northeast Ohio (NEO) is an 18-county region which encompasses four different Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs); MSAs commonly refer to the labor market of a given area (for this study: the Akron MSA, the Canton-Massillon MSA, the Cleveland-Elyria MSA, a part of the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA MSA) and remaining rural counties (“non-MSA counties”). Within NEO, these four distinct metro areas have different industry structures. Investigating the internal dynamics of each region’s economic driver industries—what we call Groups of Regional Industry Drivers (GRIDs)—can inform local leaders and economic development practitioners of expanding and emerging industries to foster regional growth.

Economic trends in NEO over the past twenty years are typical of the Midwest region, with a positive increase in output outpaced by the state of Ohio and the United States. The two recessions of 2001 and 2009 showed deeper output declines across NEO than in comparable Midwest regions and the United States. The goal of this research is to provide up-to-date, data-driven insights for competitive industries in each of the four Northeast Ohio MSAs. This research seeks to update previous research conducted for the Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy in 2011 and to provide understanding into the economies of each area.