State Manufacturing Group Sees Silver Lining

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Each two years, the Ohio Manufacturing Association surveys the landscape of the state's fabrication industry.

The O-M-A's 2010 report; "Ohio Manufacturing Counts", ranks the state third in the U.S. for manufacturing employment --- that despite a drop to just 614-thousand manufacturing jobs statewide.

It fairly trumpets the fact that Ohio trails only California and Texas in manufacturing jobs.

Lisa Schaaf is Chief Operating Officer of the Ohio Manufacturing Association.

She says that while overall job numbers ARE down, innovation during lean times helped keep companies from completely collapsing and shedding more jobs. Schaaf also notes that Ohio's growing high tech industry is not taking jobs, but is helping to support the state's manufacturing field.

LISA SCHAAF: "There are so many people who have not been in a modern manufacturing facility. They have the wrong picture in their mind about what its' like, and we're still battling that."

Others are not so optimistic. Another report released this week ranks Ohio 45th nationally in a review of employment trends, with the state owning one of the steepest overall job loss stats, for the past five years.

Yet another report --- this one specific to Northeast Ohio --- warns that despite 2009 numbers, car sales could still skid off course, taking regional manufacturing jobs with them.

But Schaaf doesn't look at it that way.

LISA SCHAAF: "I'm not seeing a doom and gloom - people are going to stop driving cars, we're gonna stop making cars - downward spiral. I think of the opposite. I think we're lucky to have our infrastructure."

The O.M.A. reports concludes that manufacturing investments are Ohio's leading source of major new projects, with an optimistic 478 of those, in the past two years.

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