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Research Center

Center for Economic Development


The manufacturing sector is integral to Ohio’s economy, as it employed about 698,000 workers and produced an estimated $106.9 billion in output in 2019, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This report examines the subsequent effects of the pandemic on Ohio’s manufacturing industry by analyzing changes in its workforce and productivity between 2019 and 2020, as well as the strategies used by manufacturing companies to adapt to pandemic circumstances. We found that Ohio manufacturing employment decreased by 6.7% from 2019 to 2020, contrasting with an increase in GDP and productivity over the same period. This report explores possible explanations for these trends, including the shift to digitization in manufacturing and the pivot to PPE production during the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking forward to the future of manufacturing after COVID-19, we identify Ohio’s unique opportunities and challenges for continued growth in the sector, especially considering the consequences of continued technological adoption.