Dayton metro wins first place in national economic development ranking

Mar 30, 2020 | News, Newsletter

Dayton Business Journal


The Dayton metropolitan area is first among cities of its size for economic development projects, according to a new ranking.

Site Selection magazine released its annual Governor’s Cup rankings on Monday, which listed the Dayton metro as the top region for the fourth time. It also marked the 14th consecutive year the Dayton metro area has ranked in the top 10 for economic development projects.

“This year’s No. 1 ranking represents years of hard work by an incredible team of economic development and workforce professionals across the Dayton region and Ohio,” said Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition. “They bring their passion for our region to each project, working with businesses to help them create opportunities for our community and ensure our companies have the support they need to be successful.”

Site Selection ranks cities and states each year based on the number of economic development projects in their region. Projects factored into the rankings include those with any combination of state, regional and local incentives, as well as those that do not receive any type of assistance. This year’s results indicate a strong state and regional business climate.

“It’s no surprise to me that Dayton continues to punch above its weight nationally in economic development,” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said. “The Dayton region works very collaboratively to execute a long-term vision to grow a more diverse base of high-quality jobs for our residents.”

The Dayton region saw strong growth in technology jobs in 2019, with DDC’s JobsOhio projects experiencing a 16 percent jump in the number of tech jobs committed between 2017 and 2019. Combined with the continued growth at the U.S. Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, as well as strong startups such as TJC Polymer and Xerion Battery, 2019 positioned the Dayton region for continued high-tech growth.

In 2019, tech projects represented about 20 percent of the committed new jobs, up from 4 percent in 2017. Companies such as Booz Allen Hamilton, JJR Solutions, Tyler Technologies, Traction on Demand, Oculii, Wurth Electronic and Mile 2 committed to create nearly 500 new jobs.

“Our 2019 job growth continues to broaden our opportunities across the region,” John Landess, chair of the coalition’s board of trustees, said. “Site Selection’s recognition reflects our team’s effort to grow the region’s economy and connect businesses to the resources they need to succeed. Our success over the last 15 years is now a solid foundation on which our region’s communities will benefit for decades and is the platform for an even stronger future.”

J.P. Nauseef, president and chief investment officer for JobsOhio, acknowledged that Dayton was hit with several tragedies in 2019, but he said the community “always fights and overcomes adversity,” as evidenced by its economic success.

“It’s not a surprise to see the Dayton region as No. 1 in the tier two category in the country for economic development because they are resilient and understand the importance of hard work and perseverance,” Nauseef said.

Montgomery County Commission President Judy Dodge added they are “thrilled that our region has received the top spot from Site Selection magazine.”

“Our team has collaborated with community partners to create a strategic approach to economic development, business retention and job growth that is truly paying off,” Dodge said.

Beyond the Dayton region, Ohio ranked second among all states for total projects and was first in the nation for projects per capita. Ohio has placed either first or second for more than 10 years, cementing the state’s role as a leader in job creation and business expansion.

The Atlanta-based magazine has awarded the Governor’s Cup annually since 1988, based on new and expanded corporate facilities as tracked by the proprietary Conway Projects Database. The DDC works with local economic development officials and JobsOhio to provide information on regional expansion projects to use for the rankings.

In addition to investing more than $738 million in the region, companies committed to create more than 2,700 new jobs and retain over 8,900 jobs. The numbers represent companies that worked with JobsOhio to expand or establish new operations in the region. The Dayton region is also home to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — Ohio’s largest single-site employer — and a leader in scientific research and development.

“This is terrific news for our region,” Miami County Commissioner Jack Evans said. “When a credible source such as Site Selection magazine ranks the Dayton’s MSA as No. 1, it’s a tribute to the strength and vitality of our region. We have all been aware that we’re number one but it’s nice to see others recognizing us.”


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