Western Ohio is part of the Till Plains, which include Clark, Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Preble counties. The Till Plains are characterized by soil that is deep and fertile, making it ideal for agriculture, and the state’s food and agricultural cluster accounts for 14 percent of Ohio jobs, but whether you’re in agribusiness, manufacturing, technology, logistics or a service industry, you’ll be in good company here.
Ohio has been a leading manufacturing state since the mid-1800s. During the last two decades of the 20th century, Ohio became the nation’s leader in machine-tool manufacturing, the second-leading steel producer and a pioneer in oil refining. Installation of new oil pipelines has boosted the demand for steel throughout the state, and domestic oil and gas production is projected to create 1.1 million jobs in related manufacturing sectors like steel over the next few years. Manufacturing contributed $106 billion to Ohio’s total economic output of $625 billion in 2016 — a
16.9 percent share. Manufacturing isn’t the only thing driving Ohio’s economy. Food production is also big business in the Buckeye State.
Ohio has long been a state that supported small businesses and entrepreneurs. The state is home to Development Services Agency, which includes the Community Development Corporation Economic Development Program. This program encourages entrepreneurship; creates and retains long-term, private-sector jobs; and enables community and economic development investment in underserved neighborhoods throughout the state. Eligible individuals and businesses may apply for funds from either of these programs:
- Microenterprise Business Development Program: Funding to provide training, technical assistance and business loans to low- and moderate-income Ohioans interested in establishing or expanding microenterprise businesses.
- Community Development Finance Fund Program: Funds for community and economic development programs benefiting low- and moderate-income individuals and neighborhoods.
The median age in these five counties ranges from 37 in Greene County to 40 in Miami and Preble counties, meaning the workforce skews older and more experienced. Median household income in Clark County is $44,154; $61,116 in Greene County; $53,423 in Miami County; $45,394 in Montgomery County; and $51,356 in Preble County, according to the U.S.
Rail and Transit Access
Centrally located in the East North Central Division of the Midwest, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is about 120 miles from Indianapolis, 215 miles from Detroit, 245 miles from Pittsburgh and 150 miles from Lexington, Kentucky.
Many major east-west transportation corridors go through Ohio. One of those pioneer routes, known in the early 20th century as Main Market Route 3, was chosen in 1913 to become part of the historic Lincoln Highway that was the first road across America, connecting New York City to San Francisco. In Ohio, the Lincoln Highway linked many towns and cities, including Canton, Mansfield, Wooster, Lima and Van Wert. The Lincoln Highway’s arrival in Ohio was a major influence on the development of the state. Upon the advent of the federal numbered highway system in 1926, the Lincoln Highway through Ohio became U.S. Route 30.
Ohio also is home to 228 miles of the Historic National Road, now U.S. Route 40, and has a highly developed network of roads and interstate highways. Major east-west routes include the Ohio Turnpike (I-80/I-90) in the north, I-76 through Akron to Pennsylvania, I-70 through Columbus and Dayton, and the Appalachian Highway (state Route 32) running from West Virginia to Cincinnati. Major north-south routes include I-75 in the west through Toledo, Dayton and Cincinnati, I-71 through the middle of the state from Cleveland through Columbus and Cincinnati into Kentucky, and I-77 in the eastern part of the state from Cleveland through Akron, Canton, New Philadelphia and Marietta down into West Virginia. Interstate 75 between Cincinnati and Dayton is one of the heaviest-traveled sections of interstate in Ohio.
Ohio also has a highly developed network of state bicycle routes. Many of them follow rail trails, with conversion ongoing. The Ohio to Erie Trail (Route 1) connects Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. U.S. Bicycle Route 50 traverses Ohio from Steubenville to the Indiana state line outside Richmond.
Ohio is blessed with a rich and varied landscape — from rolling foothills, deep forests and parklands to flat, fertile farmland. For the past 200 years, the state’s natural beauty and rich natural resources have played pivotal roles in its economic and cultural development. Since the 1800s, more than 3 billion tons of coal have been mined in Ohio. In 2016, Ohio had over 50,000 natural gas and crude oil wells producing in 49 of Ohio’s 88 counties, according to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services. That year, Ohio produced 18 million barrels of crude oil and 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, a state record. As of 2016, sawtimber volume on timberland totaled 51.1 billion board feet, a 2.1 percent increase since 2011, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.