Report: Ohio doing better on a global stage thanks to manufacturing export growth

MUNCIE, Ind. – Ohio improved from “B-” to “B” in its global position due to higher manufacturing export growth, according to an annual report from Ball State University.

The state also improved from “C-” to “C” in its human capital and “D” to “C-” in its benefits costs due to relatively lower health care premiums. Ohio kept the following grades constant: “A” in logistics, “B” in manufacturing and “C” in productivity and innovation, tax climate and liability gap. The state declined from “B” to “B-” in its diversification.

The 2019 Manufacturing Scorecard from Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research analyzes how each state ranks among its peers in several areas of the economy that underlie the success of manufacturing and logistics.

These specific measures include: manufacturing and logistics industry health, human capital, cost of worker benefits, diversification of the industries, state-level productivity and innovation, expected fiscal liability, tax climate and global reach.

CBER Director Michael Hicks, co-author of the report, said export growth for Ohio moved the state from a B- to a B.

The cost of health care benefits dropped causing the state to jump from a D to a C-, which is important for manufacturing firms because health care insurance is such a large share of labor costs, he said.

“2018 was a good year overall for key sectors in Ohio, such as fabricated metal and motor vehicle bodies, which together employment more than 200,000 workers,” Hicks said. “Industrial production nationwide slowed through the first six months of 2019, suggesting the short-term prospects for these industries will be negative. Over the longer term we should expect more production, but employment growth in manufacturing will return to its long-term decline.”

Individuals can visit the Manufacturing Scorecard project website at to view the performance history for each state and an archive of past reports with insight into the manufacturing industry.