Source: Organization for International Investment
The sign outside Ohio this week should read, “Welcome to Ohio, we want your foreign investment.”
An Ohio delegation, including representatives from this region, traveled to Washington, D.C. this week for the SelectUSA Investment Summit to attract international businesses, a growing segment that has helped push the state’s economy.
The goal is to land companies like Fuyao Glass America in Moraine or Thyssen Krupp Bilstein-America in Butler County that employ thousands of workers in this region. International companies employed an estimated 215,650 people in the state last year, and officials want to attract more businesses worldwide to continue this growth in Ohio.
But Kristi Tanner, senior managing director at JobsOhio, said the state also is looking for smaller companies that want to be suppliers to Ohio’s large foreign investors.
“We’ve seen companies not only from Europe, but parts of Asia, ” she said. “And it’s not just Japan. We’re seeing a variety of international investments that are attracted to our state.”
The growth in Ohio has been dramatic in the past decade, according to the Organization for International Investment.
• Foreign direct investment now accounts for 13.4 percent of total employment in Ohio. Three out of every 10 manufacturing jobs in Ohio are supported by global companies.
• Global investment supports more than 895,000 Ohio jobs, representing 13.4 percent of the state’s employment. FDI also accounts for 15.1 percent of total labor income and 15.4 percent of GDP in Ohio. Ohio ranked as one of the top 10 states with number of jobs supported by global investment.
• Jobs supported by global companies pay an average annual wage of $72,900 in Ohio, compared to the state average of $51,800.
In 2015, the number of foreign-owned companies jumped to 3,818 companies, up from 3,456 in 2012, according to a JobsOhio survey.
“Ohio offers diverse cities, cultures and industries positioning Ohio to attract even more foreign direct investment to our state,” said Andrew Lange, director of international sales for JobsOhio.
Tanner said JobsOhio will meet with more than 100 businesses who are interested in moving to the U.S. — targeting sectors like manufacturing, the motor vehicle industry, information technology, biotechnology and consumer product manufacturing.
“These meetings are so important to us,” Lange said. “They help us establish relationships that can lead to investment in our state.”
The state’s most recent global expansion occurred in April when Schaeffler, a German-based company, announced plans to expand its Wooster automotive facility. The company’s $60 million capital investment commitment is expected to create 250 new jobs and retain 1,767 jobs, according to JobsOhio.
Between 2012 and 2015, global investment from more than 19 countries added 7,500 jobs in Ohio. Moraine’s Fuyao Glass America plant helped add 1,500 of the employees.
“I wouldn’t sell Dayton short at all,” Tanner said. “Where the city is located — with access to the north and south and its position right on I-75 — it is attractive to businesses.”
The region’s advantageous location, skilled workforce, access to 51 institutes of higher education and pipeline of new workers makes it an optimal place for foreign investment, said Shannon Joyce Neal of the Dayton Development Coalition.
“We want to foster those industry connections with foreign investments,” she said.
The auto industry has comprised the largest segment of increased employment in foreign-owned companies and Honda America has led the way with more than 14,000 employees in Ohio.
Honda operations in Ohio have grown to become the center of many of operations in North America, including the production of engines, transmissions, cars, light trucks, service parts and materials, as well as research and development.
Honda finds Ohio to be an attractive place to do business and invest largely because of the quality of its workforce, the friendly business climate, abundance of natural resources, and strong infrastructure, said Honda communications manager Mark Morrison.
“The quality of the business environment in Ohio today is important,” Tanner said. “It isn’t just our workforce or our tax structure. Ohio has jumped in the ranks as one of the best states to do business because our proximity to markets, strong climate and sound economy is extremely attractive to foreign countries. It resonates as a well-positioned place with a reduced risk for investment.”