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Dayton: Economy


Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Dayton's balanced economy is supported principally by manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and services. In recent years, Dayton has suffered from many of the ills plaguing the national economy. Most major industries have charted reductions in jobs in the past three to five years, and those industries related to the automotive industry have been the hardest hit. Dayton businesses are working towards a resurgence by focusing on increased business investment and diversifying into the manufacturing of technical products and services. Dayton employers are also concerned about the constraints of a stagnant and aging population; employers are working to recruit highly skilled employees to the region, particularly in the high-tech fields. The most important factor in determining Dayton's economic future, however, is the fate of the area's major manufacturing employers such as Delphi Automotive, General Motors, and Behr, whose presence is so vital to the area's continued prosperity.

In the past ten years, employment in education and health services has grown steadily in Dayton. More than 35 institutions of higher learning in the metropolitan area provide a significant number of jobs. Area health care facilities have been steadily expanding both their physical facilities and the services offered. Technological advances in health care have been readily adopted in Dayton area hospitals, making this economic sector one of the most promising for the region.

More than 1,500 other firms in the Dayton area manufacture accounting systems, bicycles, castings and forgings, compressors, concrete products, washing machines, generators, hoists and jacks, industrial belts, machine tools, name plates, paints and varnishes, paper and paper-making machinery, plastics, precision gauges, tools and dies, and meat products.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the research and development arm of the U.S. Air Force, is the fifth largest employer in the state of Ohio and the largest employer at a single location. Wright-Patterson employs almost one of every twelve people working in the greater Dayton area. Approximately 10,000 of its more than 20,000 employees are civilians; though, as part of announcements of major base consolidations and closings throughout the U.S., Wright-Patterson was slated to gain nearly 600 more military personnel and lose just under 200 of its civilian population. Wright-Patterson is the headquarters of the Air Force Logistics Command, Air Force Material Command, and the Aeronautical Systems Division (ASD), in addition to more than 100 other Department of Defense divisions. The U.S. Defense Department Joint Logistics Systems Center, affiliated with Wright-Patterson, oversees the installation of new computer systems for all military services; the center generates many private sector jobs. The ASD at Wright-Patterson manages the U.S. Air Force bomber program; also housed at the base is the Center for Artificial Intelligence Applications (CAIA). Wright-Patterson also houses the Air Force Institute for Technology, which trains thousands of students each year. In addition, Wright-Patterson is credited with bringing to Dayton one of the highest concentrations of aerospace/high-technology firms in the nation. These firms employ scientists, engineers, technicians, and specialists actively involved in development and application in both the private and public sectors.

Another vital factor in the metropolitan area economy is the Miami Valley Research Park, supported by the Miami Valley Research Foundation, a private, nonprofit corporation; the 1,500-acre park is a university-related research facility that is the site of corporate and government research firms. The Research Park's goal is to promote research, technology, and science in the region, while helping to create and preserve employment opportunities.

Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies

Local programs

The CityWide Direct Loan program offers assistance for the acquisition of real estate, facility renovation and construction, and equipment purchasing.

State programs

The State of Ohio grants direct low interest loans, industrial revenue bonds, and financial assistance for research and development to companies creating or retaining jobs in Ohio. Additionally, the Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit provides tax credits for Ohio companies that expand as well as companies relocating to Ohio. Enterprise zones provide significant tax reductions on property investments made by businesses expanding in or relocating to specific areas of Ohio.

Job training programs

The Ohio Investment in Training program provides financial assistance and technical resources for assisting Ohio businesses in the training of employees. Additionally, area colleges and universities offer many options for training.

Development Projects

The Dayton Downtown Partnership has been committed to the development of Dayton's urban space for more than a decade. Ongoing development is occurring at RiverScape, a riverside park and event venue that has attracted nighttime crowds of up to 50,000. The second phase of the project, completed in 2003, added improvements and extensions to RiverScape's pathways, bridges, gardens, and fountains. Discussions are currently underway for a potential third phase, which will include a whitewater park and an entertainment venue. The Schuster Performing Arts Center, another product of the Dayton Downtown Partnership, opened in 2003 to immediate success. The Center includes two theatres as well as office and residential space, and has greatly contributed to Dayton's effort to become a regional center for the arts.

Economic Development Information: Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, 1 Chamber Plaza, Dayton, OH 45402-2400; telephone (937)226-1444

Commercial Shipping

Dayton International Airport, ranking among the nation's busiest air-freight facilities, is the midwestern hub for Emery Worldwide, a CF company. Dayton's central location means that the Dayton International Airport is within 90 minutes by air from 55 percent of the nation's population.

Passengers can find nonstop flights from Dayton International to 19 major cities, including Detroit, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, and Houston. Ten airlines fly approximately 80 daily flights in and out of Dayton International. Thirty trucking companies maintain terminals in the metropolitan area. Just north of the city, the intersection of interstates 70 and 75 creates a hub that is a focal point of the nation's transportation network and has lured transportation companies to the Dayton area.

Three Class I rail systems furnish rail cargo transportation, including trailer on flat car service; both CSX and Conrail operate switching yards in the city. Because of its transportation system, which affords direct access to major markets, Dayton has become an important warehouse and distribution center.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Dayton educational institutions provide employers with skilled workers. In particular, the region abounds with employees highly educated in the fields of science and engineering. Dayton area businesses have increasingly been attempting to retain area-educated employees to their work-forces. Recently, jobs have been lost in Dayton's traditional manufacturing sectors, which are highly dependent on the fortunes of the automobile industry.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Dayton-Springfield metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of non-agricultural labor force: 412,300

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 15,700

manufacturing: 59,300

transportation, trade, and utilities: 71,400

information: 11,100

financial activities: 18,700

professional and business services: 53,200

educational and health services: 62,300

leisure and hospitality: 38,200

other services: 17,000

government: 65,400

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $20.97

Unemployment rate: 7.1% (March 2005)

Dayton: Economy

Largest employers Number of employees
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base 22,000
Premier Health Partners 9,000
Delphi Automotive Systems 8,700
AK Steel Corp. 3,800
Good Samaritan Hospital 3,000

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Dayton area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $210,857

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 93.5 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Ranges from 0.743% to 7.5%

State sales tax rate: 5.0% (food and prescription drugs are exempt)

Local income tax rate: 2.25%

Local sales tax rate: 1.5%

Property tax rate: $61.55 per $1,000 assessed valuation (2005)

Economic Information: Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, 1 Chamber Plaza, Dayton, OH 45402-2400; telephone (937)226-1444


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