What Are The Biggest Industries In Ohio?

Cleveland, Ohio, USA downtown skyline on the river.
Cleveland, Ohio, USA downtown skyline on the river.

Ohio is the seventh-largest economy in the United States with a GDP of about 656 billion dollars, just below Pennsylvania and ahead of New Jersey. If Ohio were a sovereign country, it would be the 21st largest economy in the world ahead of Argentina and below Saudi Arabia. The state ranks high in the business climate, economic development, and taxation policies. Ohio is noted as the industrial capital of the United States considering its role in the Rust Belt and the scientific and intelligence fields. At the start of the decade, Ohio was ranked among the top states in job creation alongside New York, California, and Texas. The state's economy includes historically strong industries such as insurance and banking, motor vehicle assembly, steel production, agriculture, and research and development. One in seven employed Ohioans works in the agricultural sector. Developing sectors include food processing, information, and bioscience. Ohio is recognized for leading the world in fuel cell production while the city of Toledo is known for solar energy.

Cleveland is better known as a medical research hub while Dayton is a center for aerospace and defense. Walmart employs more than 50,000 people in the state while the Cleveland Clinic employs more than 45,000.

Aerospace And Defense

Dayton is the aerospace center of the state due to the large concentration of aviation firms. As of 2018, about 16,000 people were employed in the aviation industry, though the number is considerably lower compared to 37,000 in the 1990s. Ohio ranks among the top five in aerospace parts production and eighth in employment. Employees in the aerospace industry make an average of 26,000 dollars more than those in other manufacturing sectors. Notable aerospace companies in the state include Aircraft Braking System, GE Aviation, Goodrich Corporation, CFM International, Timken, GE Honda Aero Engines. Defense contractors play a crucial role in the economy alongside the aerospace industry. Lockheed Martin, Armor Holdings, and BAE Systems are the top weapons manufacturers.

Bioscience And Healthcare

The biotech industry in the state ranks fourth in the country and top in the Midwest. As of 2018, more than 1,000 biotechnology-related firms were employing over 100,000 people directly or indirectly and accounting for over 2.5 billion dollars in investment. The broader economic impact of the biotechnology industry, including healthcare is over 140 billion dollars representing 15% of the economic output of the state. About 600 firms are certified to manufacture medicine and medical devices. The Healthcare industry employs thousands of people and contributes significantly to the economy of Ohio. The dominant players in the healthcare system include the Cleveland Clinic Health System, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Catholic Healthcare Partners, and Premier Health Partners.


The education system in Ohio is among the best in the country. The medical colleges of the state rank sixth in terms of economic importance and impact 400,000 people directly or indirectly in addition to generating over 37 billion dollars. The higher education system of Ohio is the largest comprehensive system in the country and includes Kent State University, University of Cincinnati, the University of Toledo among many others.


The agricultural industry accounts for about $125 billion of the GDP of the state. About one in seven employed Ohioans work in the agricultural sector directly or indirectly.

Ohio is the top Swiss cheese producer in the country, third in egg production, sixth in soybean, and ninth in corn. Agriculture, eatery, and food processing are intertwined since the state processes most of its agricultural products such as ketchup. As of 2018, there were more than 75,000 farms in the state. Apart from food production, the state also produces flowers and tree seedlings. About 25,000 white Ash trees are produced by nurseries every year.

Iron and Steel

­­Ohio is historically the steel center of the United States. Every year the state produces over 14 million tons of steel that generates about $7.2 billion. Ohio accounts for about 15% of the raw steel produced in the United States. Roughly 70% of the electrometallurgical ferroalloy labor force is located within the state. In total, about 34,000 workers are employed in the iron and steel industry. However, this sector is under threat from Chinese imports.

Motor Vehicle Assembly­­­

The motor vehicle industry in Ohio is currently dotted and on a slight decline compared to the start of the century. In 2002 the sector accounted for about 16 billion dollars, but increased competition and taxation compounded with declining demand and increased imports have significantly affected the industry. The largest vehicle manufacturers in Ohio are Chrysler Daimler, Ford, Honda, and General Motors. ­­


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