Table of Contents

Those interviewed in rural areas and big cities, in both Trump country and traditional Democratic strongholds, send the same message: the United States must be constructively engaged in the world to keep the country safe, first and foremost, but also to advance the economic well-being of America’s middle class. The question is not whether the United States and Ohio need to be internationally oriented, but how. There is no single answer. The answers frequently depend on whether you are analyzing macroeconomics and geopolitics on a global scale, advancing industrial interests, or simply safeguarding the prosperity of your local community.

The community or “placed-based” view is the focus of this chapter. The perspectives of people focused on the local community often receive less attention in Washington, DC, but they offer vital insights due to their wide variance across cities and towns. From the following micro-studies on six locales—Cleveland, Columbus, Coshocton, Dayton, Lima, and Marion—emerge both common and different challenges related to globalization and trade, economic diversification, wages, and dependence on defense spending. The economic and political diversity of each area, and the divergent views emerging from them, are summarized in Table 9. Before detailing the results of the six micro-studies, it is important to briefly discuss the macroeconomic and geopolitical perspectives, as well as the industry-based perspective.

The Macroeconomic and Geopolitical Perspective That Dominates Policymakers’ Attention

The macroeconomic and geopolitical perspectives dominate thinking and actions among the international economics and national security communities in Washington, DC. Over the last several decades, Democratic and Republican administrations alike determined that the best way to promote America’s prosperity was by expanding the global community of market-based democracies and by managing shocks and preventing crises that could threaten macroeconomic stability. To be sure, they undertook many diplomatic efforts to secure contracts or trade benefits on behalf of U.S. firms, but this was part of a broader strategy to support the expansion of market forces and promote strong, balanced, and sustainable growth.

The core elements of the broader strategy have included U.S. government officials and business executives regularly engaging and encouraging other countries—major economic powers in particular—to adopt sound fiscal and monetary policies, pursue structural reforms to encourage investment, and promote fair and open competition. The strategy has also included the United States serving as the lead sponsor of key international institutions like the IMF, World Bank, and WTO, as part of strengthening international rules and institutions that reinforce U.S. efforts. At times, U.S. officials have pursued coordinated international efforts like the Plaza Accord to manage perceived mismatches of exchange rates and enshrine principles against currency manipulation for the purpose of boosting exports, as China was called out for doing in the early 2000s. A key part of U.S. international economic policy has also been focused on the world’s poor. The United States has led efforts to reduce the debts of poor countries—whose fragility risks precipitating security and economic risks that spill across borders—while providing them privileged access to the U.S. market with preferential tariffs.

Over the last decade, perhaps the most vivid illustration of U.S. leadership in the international economic realm came in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008. Then president Bush convened the G20 in Washington to coordinate shared commitments to using all fiscal and monetary tools available to stabilize economic growth and forswear protectionist measures. Critics highlighted the irony of the United States’ role in responding to the crisis given that it emanated from poor U.S. regulation of a massive financial bubble. Nevertheless, the size of the U.S. economy and the dominance of the dollar in global finance mean that Washington’s engagement has been essential in setting global rules around trade, finance, and investment.

These efforts run parallel to political and diplomatic involvement across a range of potentially destabilizing developments: armed confrontation among nations; denial of access by state or nonstate actors to key arteries of commerce (on land, at sea, in space, or across cyberspace); deliberate efforts by friends or foes to disrupt the supply of oil and other critical energy sources to global markets; sustained increases in major terrorist attacks, including cyber attacks on critical infrastructure; successive natural disasters that overwhelm international capacity to limit the damage; and the outbreak of global pandemics that freeze the flow of people and goods.

Those interviewed for this study tended to focus on what was visible to them, namely the localized effects of trade, defense spending, and foreign direct investment.

U.S. intelligence agencies keep close watch on the geopolitical and security developments that could affect the global economy. The U.S. military presence and projection of power worldwide provide a powerful deterrent against some of them. Government officials in the commerce, defense, homeland security, justice, state, and treasury departments exhaust U.S. influence to mobilize international action and cooperation to head off these crises or manage their aftermath, where possible.

It is near impossible to quantify the economic value of all this activity for America’s middle class. And it is unreasonable to expect local officials, small business owners, or working families in cities and towns across Ohio or elsewhere to be able to comment on it or assess the implications of the counterfactuals. For example, they have no way of assessing what would have happened had the United States opposed granting PNTR status to China. Would the Chinese economy have grown more slowly? Would the impact on Ohio jobs have been markedly different? Those interviewed for this study tended to focus on what was visible to them, namely the localized effects of trade, defense spending, and foreign direct investment (which is influenced by and shapes foreign policy but falls within the purview of domestic policy).

Most state and local officials, economic developers, small business owners, and community leaders interviewed indicated that they need to trust the professionals in government to manage geopolitical developments and evolutions in the global economy responsibly. They also need to defer to big corporations and industry associations to assess the details of individual foreign policies and the specific provisions in free trade agreements. These big players alone have the dedicated resources to assess the myriad ways U.S. foreign policy affects their interests and to fight for their interests in Washington, DC. Those interviewed appeared to believe the system worked when trust in government was high and the interests of the various industries and workers were aligned. But it was a different proposition when trust eroded, industries’ positions conflicted, and/or the concerns of working families appeared to take a back seat to the bottom lines of big corporations and special, moneyed interests.

Alignments and Conflicts Within Industry-Based Perspectives

Ohio is home to many different industries that are deeply integrated in the global economy—from the farmers who export their grain to the automakers and other manufacturers that rely on global value chains and open markets to produce and sell their products. There are many occasions when these industries and their workers all benefit from specific activities the United States undertakes, but there are also cases where interests across industries, or within them between management and labor, conflict.

The national attention now focused on the “winners and losers” of the Trump administration’s recently imposed tariffs on imported aluminum and steel and imported Chinese goods, as well as the retaliatory measures those tariffs have invited against U.S. exported goods, highlights the ways in which various industries’ interests can differ. Likewise, questions are being asked about how U.S. businesses will ultimately react to newly negotiated provisions in the UMSCA that aim to help American workers by, for example, raising wage requirements to qualify for preferential tariffs. These various topics merit exhaustive study in their own right. Only a few illustrative examples of alignments and conflicts arising from an industry-based perspective are noted here, however, because the focus of this chapter is primarily on the perspectives of local communities.

Industry and labor representatives express broad support for various types of U.S. development and disaster assistance that grow export markets and prevent precipitous downturns.

An aspect of foreign policy where interests across U.S. industries, as well as between management and organized labor, appear to align is in helping grow markets for U.S. goods and services. These efforts might range from trade agreements that break down barriers to development assistance that encourages the emergence of more consumers abroad. A representative of Ohio’s Farm Bureau strongly stated that U.S. efforts to grow the global middle class are good for Ohio’s middle class, because as more of the world’s poor moved into the middle class, particularly in China, India, and other Asian countries, protein consumption increased.1 This, in turn, increased demand for Ohio’s grains for livestock and various processed foods;2 for Ohio’s light vehicles and parts;3 and for higher wages in those countries, thereby diminishing wage advantages they had over American workers.4 Representatives of these different Ohio constituencies all saw this type of overseas development assistance, when effectively delivered, as manifestly in U.S. interests. They and others distinguished such assistance from the type of “nation-building” the United States has pursued in Afghanistan and Iraq for the past few decades.

Extrapolating from this thinking, it becomes clearer why industry and labor representatives express broad support for various types of U.S. development and disaster assistance that grow export markets and prevent precipitous downturns. There is a clear belief that we do not live in a zero-sum world and that countries and organizations should share the burden of maintaining stability. Other countries’ gains or losses can benefit or hurt American working families. Ohioans remember well how an 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami in Japan rippled through Ohio’s economy in 2011 as Honda and other automotive facilities and their suppliers faced serious disruptions.5

The next overseas crisis that impacts Ohio economically may not be a natural disaster. It could be a pandemic disease, for example. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently illustrated how an epidemic spanning nine countries in Asia (Ohio’s fastest growing export market) could cost the United States over $40 billion in export revenues and put more than 1 million U.S. jobs at risk.6 Ohio exports almost $6 billion worth of goods to forty-nine countries that the CDC treats as global health security priorities.7

The interests of industries and organized labor appear to be strongly aligned when viewed through the prism of increasing exports and inbound foreign investment. That is not necessarily the case, however, when considering the outsourcing or offshoring of U.S. production as part of global value chains.

Motor vehicle and automotive parts production, which have long been activities central to Ohio’s economy, provide an instructive example of this conflict. Nearly $192 billion in new passenger cars and light trucks and another $149 billion in automotive parts entered the United States from more than thirty-five countries in 2017.8 General Motors, which has ten assembly plants in the United States, including one in northeastern Ohio, also has manufacturing operations in sixteen other countries, including four plants in Mexico.9 Ford has eight assembly plants in the United States and twenty-six others spread across sixteen different countries.10 In 2015, its Medium Duty Truck Assembly plant relocated from Mexico to Avon Lake, Ohio, and the company has two major engine plants in the state (in Cleveland and Lima).

From the perspective of major automakers, they benefit when the United States helps to bring stability to various countries playing a critical role in global value chains. It is not as clear-cut for American autoworkers. They stand to benefit from their employers’ profitability. Yet they could potentially benefit even more, if due to instabilty overseas, auto companies were forced to relocate more production facilities back in the United States.11 The economic interests of American autoworkers are closely tied to trends in global value chains, especially with respect to the North American production platform and growing emerging markets overseas. U.S. automotive supply chains remain largely domestic, and supply chains in North American trading partners Mexico and Canada are largely assumed to complement, not substitute for, U.S. activities. However, in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means (a trade subcommittee) in July 2017, Susan Helper—professor of economics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Commerce—warned of “the movement of large chunks” of the U.S. automotive supply chain abroad.12

The Trump administration’s recent imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and the retaliatory measures they have triggered from other countries further underscore where the interests of different industries trade off against one another. Trade-offs can even exist within the same industry. The situation is too fluid, and there are too many gaps in information to attempt a cost-benefit analysis for Ohio’s main industries in this report. But see Appendix B for a snapshot of how the tariffs on steel are affecting some vital industries, such as agriculture, auto, and steel, in Ohio.

Locally Based Perspectives

When one industry dominates a particular place, as the steel industry did in Youngstown, Ohio, in the 1970s, then its interests and the city’s fate are inextricably intertwined. But today, Ohio’s cities and counties tend to have more diversified local economies. Differences in the mix of industries making up those local economies lead to varying views, particularly on trade policy and defense spending, as they are the most visible localized effects of foreign policy.

Many of those interviewed in Columbus offered thoughts about the local economy and U.S. foreign policy that echo what one might also hear in Boston, Massachusetts, or Arlington, Virginia. But just one hour’s drive away from Columbus, in Coshocton and Marion counties, views are quite different. This might indicate that such differences simply reflect a divide between big urban centers and more rural areas and smaller towns, but Ohio’s two biggest cities, Cleveland and Columbus, now experience very different demographic and economic trends. Midsize cities like Dayton, and smaller ones like Lima, meanwhile, are far more dependent on defense spending than trade—the latter being the dominant topic of conversation in most other locations.

Columbus—A Modern Twenty-First-Century City

Columbus is Ohio’s state capital and home to OSU and several other major academic institutions. With a population of nearly 880,000, it has grown to be the state’s largest city. According to U.S. census data, it is the eighth-fastest-growing city in the country, after San Antonio, Phoenix, Dallas, Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Charlotte.13 Government and educational activities dominate the Columbus economy, but the region is home to headquarters for major insurance, retail, utility, and healthcare companies. Its diversified economy, which also includes strong presence in banking, logistics, fashion, research, and manufacturing, make it, as one observer described, a thriving example of the “modern twenty-first-century city.”14

In 2010, Columbus economic development officials and business leaders set a bold goal of bringing 150,000 new jobs to the eleven-county Central Ohio area, including Marion, by 2020. They hit that mark two years ahead of schedule.15 Columbus 2020 is on pace to meet or exceed two other goals: attracting $8 billion in capital investment and raising the area’s per capita income by 30 percent. In July 2018, regional unemployment was at 4 percent.16 Interviewees in other communities claim that Columbus’s tight labor market is now pulling talent out of their regions.

One of Columbus’s biggest selling points to investors has been the successful track record of government, business, and community leaders working effectively together and across party lines to create an environment conducive for investment.

According to city planners and economic developers, one of Columbus’s biggest selling points to investors has been the successful track record of government, business, and community leaders working effectively together and across party lines to create an environment conducive for investment. The presence of OSU, which draws nearly 60,000 undergraduate and graduate students to Columbus, is also a major factor. It is a talent magnet for the region, which has succeeded in attracting domestic and foreign investors alike. Among first-time, degree-seeking undergraduates enrolled at OSU in fall 2016, 23 percent came from states other than Ohio and another 11 percent came from other countries.17 OSU’s foreign student enrollment increased 15 percent between 2011 and 2017.18

Columbus officials and economic developers said the city started “thinking globally” in earnest only relatively recently.19 The city had been perennially underperforming in exports and FDI, especially relative to other cities in the Midwest. Therefore, they adopted a comprehensive trade and investment plan in 2014. The stated goals for 2020 include making Columbus one of the top twenty-five U.S. metropolitan areas in exports (it was thirty-seventh at the time), increasing FDI from 40 percent to 50 percent of all active projects, and increasing non-Japanese FDI from 40 percent to 55 percent.20

Since 2014, the region’s efforts have been supported by federal government programs, such as the Department of Commerce’s SelectUSA program. For example, contacts made through that initiative enabled regional leaders to secure investment from the European Sofidel Group, which in 2016 broke ground on the construction of a tissue factory in Circleville, Ohio, that will employ about 300 people.21 That said, SelectUSA remains a relatively modest undertaking. And Columbus economic developers strongly prefer to rely on their own local partnerships and business contacts to sell the Columbus region internationally because they know its strengths best and are competing against other U.S. cities for foreign investments. They do not expect a greater level of direct assistance from federal officials, recognizing that such a role would put them in a difficult or inappropriate position to be picking winners and losers among U.S. cities. In any event, Columbus officials have already made inroads and built strong personal relationships in key investment hubs around the world, including most recently in China.

Columbus officials weigh many foreign policy–related issues according to the potential impact on efforts to attract FDI. One leading economic developer for Ohio’s central region stressed that when two-way trade increases, immigrants succeed, and more foreign students enroll in local universities, human relations improve and send the signal that foreigners and their contributions are welcome.22 The most consistently critical voices regarding the Trump administration’s tough stands on trade, immigration, and U.S. allies (who also happen to be among Ohio’s most important investors and trading partners) were heard in Columbus.

Franklin County, which encompasses Columbus, was home to more than 56,000 Asian residents in 2016, or roughly 4.6 percent of the county’s total population of 1.23 million. It was home to nearly 63,000 Hispanics—of which 35,500 (2.9 percent of Franklin County’s total population) were Mexican.23 “Years ago, we decided we were going to work to attract the best people,” said a Columbus official. “We were going to make immigration a strategy.” He questioned how other communities could possibly want to turn away people who were willing to risk everything to come here. “I’ll play those numbers all day if you want to be here because you want to have a better life.”24

Many interviewees demurred when asked about the near-term winners and losers in Ohio of the imposition of tariffs. They said much remained unclear or uncertain and that it was too early to tell. They did not want to be picking sides among various industries that were each important to Ohio’s economy. And they avoided engaging in what was seen as a political debate. Nevertheless, they expressed serious concerns that sustained unpredictability and uncertainty could have a chilling effect on investment over the longer term, undermine currently high levels of business and consumer confidence, and dampen what was an otherwise favorable economic outlook. One city planner and trained economist also worries about second- and third-order effects of the steel tariffs. For example, he predicts that office and housing construction will slow as the price of steel rises, which would, in turn, undermine campaigns to bring in investment. His message contrasted with that of many interviewees elsewhere in the state, who expressed appreciation for what they saw as Trump standing up for the U.S. worker and disappointment with past administrations’ inadequate responses to unfair foreign trading practices. For the city planner, the current trade debates detract attention from issues that really could boost the city’s effort to increase foreign investment, such as getting direct international flights into the Columbus airport.25

There are ample reasons for those in Columbus to be averse to big foreign policy changes that could introduce strategic risk for investors. Things are going well, economically, especially relative to much of the rest of Ohio. However, this is not to suggest that Columbus is without serious social or economic challenges.

Many interviewees demurred when asked about the nearterm winners and losers in Ohio of the imposition of tariffs. . . . Nevertheless, they expressed serious concerns that sustained unpredictability and uncertainty could have a chilling effect on investment over the longer term.

One of the region’s biggest economic challenges is shared by many other cities and towns across Ohio and the nation: too many jobs do not pay enough to make ends meet. An April 2018 report from Policy Matters Ohio, a progressive research and policy group, found that six of the ten most common jobs in the Columbus area pays less than $12 an hour, or, as the report detailed, less than necessary to sustain a family of three without public assistance for food and healthcare. These six occupations alone account for nearly 130,000 Columbus-area workers, or roughly 13 percent of all jobs.26 The preponderance of low-wage work has dragged down per capita income in the Columbus metropolitan statistical area (MSA), which was approximately $2,000 below the national average in 2016.27 For those contending with such low wages, it is understandable how foreign policy would not be their main consideration. They need to worry about housing and transportation costs, arrangements for childcare when both parents must work, and the rising costs of healthcare. The savings accrued on vehicles, household appliances, clothing, and food as a result of trade make a material difference but pale in comparison to those other costs, which account for the lion’s share of their household budgets.

Cleveland—A Twentieth-Century Industrial Powerhouse

Columbus is Ohio’s largest city; Cleveland used to be.28 Cleveland’s population peaked at 914,000 in 1950. It had shrunk just below 400,000 as of the last census conducted in 2010 and has dropped further since.29 The population of the five counties making up the Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor MSA has been declining since 1970, except for a brief turnaround seen in the 2000 Census.30 The upending of decades-long population hierarchy alone speaks volumes about the different trajectories of the two economies. As noted above, Columbus may be an archetype of the modern twenty-first-century city, but Cleveland still bears the imprint of being an early twentieth-century industrial powerhouse.

In 1970, in Cuyahoga County, the metropolitan region’s per capita income was 15 percent above the national average; by 2016, 0.4 percent above.31 The Cleveland area has suffered due to its loss of manufacturing jobs and paucity of growing industries. “We have a lot of mature industries,” said one longtime Cleveland observer. “They weren’t going to grow; they aren’t in the growth stage.”32 From 2010 to 2017, the Cleveland metro area added less than 7,700 jobs. The Columbus 2020 region added 150,000.33

For some long-time Cleveland residents, Warner Swasey’s long-abandoned office building and plant, decaying since 1985, is just one constant reminder of the difficulties of transitioning out of the past and toward the future. In fact, across Ohio and its adjoining states are cities and towns that were anchored by plants and associated buildings that were abandoned by bankruptcy, buyouts, or offshoring. All three are the unfortunate by-products of dynamic capitalism that Ohioans do not expect to be stopped. However, the value of the structures that are left behind often have negative value, meaning that the value of cleared land is less than the cost of clearing and cleaning the land.

Manufacturing, particularly related to oil refining, steel making, automotive supplies, and paints and chemicals, drove the early Cleveland economy. Today, the regional economy is much more diversified, but the region is still heavily shaped by its industrial heritage.34 In 1990, manufacturing accounted for nearly 21 percent of Cleveland-area nonfarm jobs and was still the dominant employment sector for the region, even after suffering all of the Rust Belt–era losses of the 1970s and 1980s. As of July 2018, manufacturing accounted for only 11.5 percent of regional jobs and was the fifth-largest employment sector.35 Cleveland-area minority workers have particularly felt the loss of manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing opportunities and strong union presence had served to make the wage gap between white and black workers in Northeast Ohio narrower than in other parts of the country during the late 1970s, said a Cleveland-based policy researcher.36

Employment in education and health services has largely swapped places with manufacturing, rising from 12 percent of all nonfarm jobs in the region in 1990 to approximately 19 percent in 2018.37 The world-renowned Cleveland Clinic medical center is the area’s largest employer (and Ohio’s second-largest).38 Unlike the manufacturing companies that dominated the employment landscape in a previous era, healthcare systems today are more deeply anchored institutions. They are not likely to pick up and move operations south or overseas and, hence, will likely continue to be reliable sources of large numbers of jobs. However, as noted earlier, many of these jobs, particularly those projected to be fast-growing, pay relatively low wages. For example, home health aides earned a median annual wage of just $23,200 in 2017.39 Even though several of Ohio’s hospitals frequently appear on lists of the nation’s best for certain specialties, few, with the notable exception of the Cleveland Clinic, attract dollars from outside the state or even region. This growth in low-wage jobs in the nontradable, healthcare industry means that the constituency in Cleveland that cares deeply about trade, while still formidable, has shrunk considerably in comparison to decades earlier.

“Is there anything that will be the mass employer and the gateway to the middle class that manufacturing once was?” said a Cleveland political observer. “I don’t see it.”40 The changing composition of the workforce and lower-wage structure may account for more stark divisions on questions of immigration and trade than in Columbus.

“Is there anything that will be the mass employer and the gateway to the middle class that manufacturing once was?” said a Cleveland political observer. “I don’t see it.”

A longtime member of Cleveland’s Hispanic community said Cleveland was once renowned for being open to immigrants, but he detected a creeping ambivalence toward immigration due to economic insecurity rather than discrimination. “There’s just this kind of worry about the pie shrinking instead of figuring out ways to expand the pie,” he added.41 A community leader in Cleveland’s African-American community concurred. “I’m all for immigration and the opportunities [immigrants] can bring to the region. . . . But as an African American, I would be remiss if I did not [question] why we are not investing in the people who are already here.” He stressed lack of adequate funding for education and other services, as well the difficulties encountered by minorities to secure the capital needed to start new businesses.42

Trade, not immigration, however, still animated most conversations in the Cleveland area because of manufacturing jobs losses. Cleveland is home to a sizable number of people who either directly or indirectly lost jobs due to foreign competition or who have relatives and neighbors who did. Interviewees therefore made common complaints about China’s unfair trading practices, “greedy corporations” that sent jobs to Mexico, and political leaders who negotiated “ill-conceived” trade agreements.43

Some also scoffed at the notion of working through the system to resolve trade disputes. A former top executive at a global firm with 100-year roots in Northeast Ohio described a threat from a Chinese competitor that was selling a “copy” of one of his company’s parts at a price well below the cost of the necessary raw materials.44 The Ohio-based company filed a claim with the Federal Trade Commission and won—eventually. By the time the claim was upheld, years had passed and the company had already shut down its division making the disputed part. “We had to lay off our people. We got out of that product almost entirely. All our customers were gone,” the retired executive said. He predicted that unless the federal government created faster, more effective enforcement mechanisms, this story would repeat itself.

A Cleveland-area attorney specializing in intellectual property reports that such infringements have been increasing and pose considerable risks to companies.45 He agrees that Chinese companies have been among those most likely to “realize weaknesses of the system and take advantage of that.” The other biggest offenders? Large U.S. corporations. Enforcing intellectual property and patent protections is difficult. “It’s both slow and it’s expensive.” This puts small and midsize firms that lack the resources to fight at a considerable disadvantage.

Other Cleveland-area representatives instead stressed the benefits that have come from trade deals. The Cleveland metropolitan area exported $8.8 billion worth of products in 2016—second only to Cincinnati’s $26.3 billion.46 Exports of merchandise accounted for 250,000 jobs statewide; if employment from export activities in the Cleveland region mirrors the region’s share of $50.1 billion in Ohio merchandise exports, then nearly 44,000 Cleveland-area jobs are due to the export of products.47 In addition to the faster job growth and higher wages associated with export-intensive industries, the increased competition from international trade has benefited the region, state, and nation by leading to more competitive products and more options.48 The automotive industry offers a prime example of the improvements in choice, cost, and quality. “There is no question that worldwide competition has made the industry better,” said a Cleveland-area supplier to the automotive industry.49 “The cars that people are driving on the road now are much higher quality; they get much better mileage and emit much less” than years ago.

Those directly benefiting from trade vigorously opposed threatening to “blow up” NAFTA—which was still under renegotiation at the time the interviews were being conducted—regardless of the job and plant losses it may have caused in earlier periods. “It’s a twenty-year partnership that most people either think has been useful or they’ve come to understand and utilize,” said a representative of Cleveland-area businesses.50 “I think the stability of NAFTA may have been its greatest asset.” He added that Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum for so-called national security reasons had especially taken by surprise and baffled many of those in Northeast Ohio. He said that few people outside northeastern Ohio appeared to understand how intertwined the supply chain in the Cleveland-area had become with operations in Canada. The Greater Cleveland Partnership—one of the nation’s largest metropolitan chambers of commerce, was poised to harness the power of its 10,000 members to influence talks surrounding changes to NAFTA in the event that negotiations with Canada had taken a turn for the worse.51

A Cleveland-area policy researcher expressed yet another view that called for fully recognizing the benefits of such free trade agreements but also acknowledging that their gains had been unevenly distributed.52 She suggested that the nation’s “trade dividend” should be reinvested in retraining workers and upgrading infrastructure.

Yet a Cleveland-area head of North American operations for a global corporation based in Europe underscored how infrastructure upgrades would require raising taxes to pay for them. And doing so could undermine efforts to attract or retain business, as investors increasingly look to put their money where the tax and regulatory environments are more favorable to their interests. “Communities don’t have a lot of control” over business decisions to stay or go, he said. “It’s always about maintaining competitiveness.”53

Cleveland has indeed seen a lot of businesses go, particularly in manufacturing industries paying high wages, with many of those replacing them not paying nearly as well. But Clevelanders still remain united in their support for full integration in the global economy, albeit with some emphasizing the need to enhance competitiveness and others stressing the importance of leveling the playing field and distributing the benefits more broadly.

Dayton—Home to an Air Force Base, Strong Union Ties

The Dayton metropolitan area has more than 800,000 residents.54 Once home to the pioneers of aviation, Orville and Wilbur Wright, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is by far the area’s largest employer—and Ohio’s largest single-site employer—with more than 27,000 military and civilian workers.55 Through direct and indirect spending, the base accounts for roughly 14 percent of the regional economy. This provides both reassurance and anxiety for local economic developers. The base helps to anchor the local economy, but were it to downsize, the effects would be no less traumatic than when major manufacturing facilities leave town.56

From 2000 to 2009, the Dayton metropolitan area lost over 48,000 jobs.57 Most notably was the 2008 closure of the General Motors Moraine assembly plant, which directly eliminated about 1,100 jobs but also led to the shuttering of several suppliers to the plant.58 Following those closures, the homegrown technology company, NCR Corporation, relocated to Atlanta in 2009, resulting in the loss of approximately 1,200 jobs.59 Some losses were offset—for example, in 2014, the Chinese Fuyao Glass Industry Group moved into part of the abandoned General Motors plant, investing roughly $600 million and creating more than 2,000 jobs—but not by high-paying jobs and with tensions over local workers’ efforts to organize.60

“What kept us going in the late 2000s was the defense community located in Dayton,” said an economic development practitioner charged with helping to support a new generation of innovation and enterprise. “General Motors, Delphi, DHL, we had all that happen at once,” she said of the rapid succession of plant closures. “Dayton is a who’s who of manufacturing that once was,” said another representative of the area’s economic development community. “There is very little that takes the place of those large manufacturing employers.”61 Making matters worse was the cascade effect that happens when big employers close or leave town and the supply and logistic network those companies demanded close or leave, too. “It doesn’t just affect the incomes of people in the plants,” said an area union representative. Closures also affect the incomes of people working in jobs and activities throughout the community.62

Since 2010, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has served as a safety net for a local economy that was spiraling downward after so many manufacturing jobs were lost in the early 2000s. The Air Force estimated that the base contributed $4.3 billion to the Dayton economy in fiscal year 2014 and employed more than the area’s next three-largest employers combined.63 The Air Force Research Lab and other local organizations have begun partnering on efforts to commercialize technology developed in the lab through startups. “We have this tremendous asset sitting in our back yard,” said a Dayton representative involved with the commercialization effort, but much of the innovation and commercial opportunity has remained behind the base’s “fence.”64

The base’s importance as a community asset extends beyond its immediate impact on the local economy. Its size and activities also make it a magnet for companies that may desire to tap the deep pool of science and research talent or to be near their large customer. Following the nationwide base realignments and closures in 2005, a number of Air Force programs at facilities in other states were consolidated at Wright-Patterson. This led a number of firms tied to those programs to expand or relocate to Dayton, said an area economic development official.65

Although the base is not expected to close or shrink substantially in size anytime soon, there are concerns that the region may have grown too dependent on defense-related spending. In 2015, Wright State University received a $7 million grant from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment to help the region prepare for future cuts in defense industry employment.66 The funds will go toward developing regional strategies for technology development and commercialization, marketing, workforce development, and international trade.

“What kept us going in the late 2000s was the defense community located in Dayton,” said an economic development practitioner.

In addition to the opportunities it presents for technology transfer and commercialization, the Air Force Research Lab is a central funder of small business development. The lab oversees the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs, which had a combined funding of $407.6 million in 2017.67 Congress established both programs as a way of fostering innovation among small businesses that serve federal government activities. Although the SBIR/STTR programs fund small businesses in all states, in 2017, Ohio enterprises were second only to California in terms of funds awarded, receiving $30.3 million.

“We’re trying to build an entrepreneur ecosystem,” a representative of regional nonprofit support agencies said of the collaborative efforts under way. She added that “it’s very slow and takes a long time, but it’s coming.” Dayton had a legacy of innovation going back to the Wright brothers, but it has been years since the area has been recognized as a hub of innovation. “The biggest challenge in our work has been attitude. What we’re doing is culture change more than anything else. Culture change is hard. There’s very much a scarcity mentality.”68

That culture change even extends to the unions that have long considered Dayton a stronghold. Representatives of the IUE-CWA—the industrial division of the Communication Workers of America that represents some 150,000 primarily manufacturing workers from its headquarters in Dayton—said that their union has been trying to be a good partner with companies, recognizing that workers, companies, and communities benefit from more products and more efficient processes. The IUE-CWA has become a proponent of Lean/high-performance principles as a strategy for maintaining job security by focusing on ways to lower costs, eliminate waste, and improve quality.69 The IUE-CWA now offers a free Lean/high-performance workforce program to worksites where its members are employed. Lean manufacturing, according to the IUE-CWA website, is “widely perceived to be the only way—with no guarantees of success—to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States.”70

The past decade’s decimation of manufacturing and the associated job losses contributed to a lingering sense of gloom that has been difficult to shake, said both union representatives and members of nonprofit entrepreneurial support organizations. One nonprofit leader described it as a “collective PTSD” that makes it hard to see trade as anything but a “losing proposition for Dayton,” even amid signs of economic improvement.71 In May 2018, the unemployment rate was 4.0 percent, and the total number of jobs in the area had nearly climbed back to where it had been in December 1993, before NAFTA took effect.72

Representatives of the IUECWA . . . said that their union has been trying to be a good partner with companies, recognizing that workers, companies, and communities benefit from more products and more efficient processes.

But union representatives still find themselves in a difficult position. They continue to advocate for better working conditions, improved environmental standards, and higher wages and benefits for workers struggling to meet basic household expenses. But they cannot afford to press too hard, knowing that companies, citing the need to remain competitive in the global market place, could follow through on threats to relocate operations to lower-wage areas at home or overseas. Yet, at the same time, corporations fear losing their competitive edge, corporate profits have soared while the corporate tax burden has fallen, and the worker share of national income has plummeted.73

The IUE-CWA representatives interviewed insisted that unions and their members are willing to help their companies compete in the global marketplace. But they said that trade deals that have not given organized labor a seat at the bargaining table have failed workers and the American middle class.74 They argue that one step toward remedying what they see wrong with trade deals would be passage of the End Outsourcing Act, which Ohio’s Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown and fellow senators Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York introduced in early 2017. The legislation would restrict U.S. companies that outsource jobs from receiving federal contracts, claw back tax incentives and bar tax breaks for companies that relocate jobs to foreign countries, and provide incentives for businesses to invest in rural and impoverished American communities.75

In addition to passing the End Outsourcing Act, union representatives say Dayton-area workers, as well as workers nationally, would be helped by efforts to:

  • Recognize the important work unions are doing on workforce development, and partner with them in developing more apprenticeship opportunities.
  • Reform government and public views of unions.
  • Encourage a seat for labor at the table of corporate boards, similar to the codetermination system in place in German companies and as proposed by Democratic senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.76

Despite the challenges of job loss and the corresponding shock to communities that comes from shuttered storefronts, vacant lots, declining tax bases, and financially strapped schools, Dayton interviewees uniformly expressed optimism that Dayton had better days ahead. One union representative, who had left a job in Colorado six years ago to come to Dayton, remembered the “visceral shock” of seeing the devastation. “My eyes were really opened.” Yet, she said, “Among the people here, there’s such a grit and dedication to community that I have never seen in other places.”77 Another union representative, who came to Dayton from Cleveland in the 1980s and had experienced being laid off himself, believed Dayton could serve as a model of what can happen when everyone works together and everyone has “a stake.” “I was here to see the crash,” he said, “and have been blessed to be here to see it being put back together.”78

Lima—Home to Tank Production Facilities and Nearby Rich Agricultural Areas

Lima is an industrial hub surrounded by agriculturally rich northwestern Ohio. The city’s 130-year-old oil refinery dates to Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. When British Petroleum acquired and sought to demolish the Standard Oil facility in Ohio, Lima fought back and managed to keep the refinery open.79 The Canadian integrated company, Husky Energy, currently owns it. Healthcare systems are now among the area’s largest employers, but manufacturers of automotive parts and consumer goods continue to be important employers and drivers of the regional economy. Also important to Lima’s industrial future is a unique defense facility, the Lima Army Tank Plant.

Similar to Dayton, which lies about 70 miles south, Lima knows well the benefits and costs associated with keeping the nation safe. Since 1941, the Lima Army Tank Plant, formally known as the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (JSMC), has been building and refurbishing tanks. The expansive complex outside of the city has been a point of civic pride in service to country for seventy years.80 That was a defining experience for a city of just 37,000.

More recently, Lima felt the economic pain and uncertainty of proposed defense-spending cuts. In 2014, employment at the JSMC, a joint venture between the U.S. Department of Defense and General Dynamics Land Systems, fell to roughly 300 workers, and city leaders were reportedly told the facility had been slated to close. The JSMC, sole maker of the Abrams tank, annually pumped more than $265 million into the regional economy, according to a 2013 assessment of defense department facilities. More than $53 million was for direct payroll, and the center generated nearly $2.8 million in state and local taxes in 2012.81

What kept the plant afloat, city leaders say, was approval from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and the U.S. State Department to sell Abrams tanks to ally nations, such as Morocco, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.82 But the tank plant got a new lease on life when Ohio’s two senators, Republican Robert Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown, worked together to direct more than $1.2 billion toward modifying and upgrading the Abrams tank and Stryker armored vehicle as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Another $1.8 billion was included in the fiscal year 2018 Defense Appropriations bill to produce a new version of the Abrams and upgrade the Stryker vehicles.83

It is a breathtaking reversal of fortune for the plant, which has been a source of good-paying jobs for the 103,000 people living in the Lima metro area (Allen County) and those beyond the region.84 The appropriations have already served to double the number of plant workers to 600, and local officials expect employment at the plant to double again to roughly 1,200 workers by 2019.85

Lima leaders describe a dramatic uptick in the regional economy. “I’ve never seen anything like it in twenty-five years,” said a local economic development official.86 He attributed the improvement partly to “a whole different mindset of business. We started seeing hiring and capital investment instead of sitting on cash. We’ve had a number of large expansion projects.”

But that welcomed rush of economic activity now means Lima faces a new challenge: finding workers. “We’re sitting on projects that can’t fill jobs,” the economic development official said of the economic boom. Part of the difficulty in filling jobs, he said, is because workers who lost their jobs in the area took jobs elsewhere. However, he also laid some of the blame at social support services that were extended to families when jobs were scarce but may be currently serving as a disincentive to work now that jobs are more plentiful.

“We’re sitting on projects that can’t fill jobs,” the economic development official said of the economic boom.

Citing employer accounts of workers turning down raises and promotion opportunities because wage increases would mean their families would lose access to food stamps, healthcare, childcare, and other services, state and local officials recently rolled out a pilot program to reform the public assistance “benefit cliff.” A family of three begins losing benefits when full-time wages exceed $10.50 an hour, triggering childcare co-payments. Parents lose Medicaid healthcare access when full-time wages for the household passes $13.68 an hour. Such losses in benefits mean that families may end up less financially stable even though they are earning more. To incentivize families’ pursuit of higher wages, the report called for state and local agencies to provide access to a limited amount of funds to help families initially make ends meet.87 The Allen County program is directed at households where individuals work full time but earn less than $16 an hour. The program provides access to $2,500 emergency funding over an eighteen-month period and to a job coach to help program participants achieve financial stability and employment goals.88

Lima officials hope the demand for workers will help draw people back to the region, but they recognize that they face strong competition for talent, particularly in the counties of the Columbus 2020 economic development region to its southeast. Although Lima can tout its lower cost of living, one local official points out that it is hard to compete for housing development with Columbus. Little investment has been made in new housing development in Lima because the return on such projects is significantly greater in Columbus, which can demand higher prices and rents.89

As Lima officials grapple with attracting the workers needed to meet growing demands, some worry that federal-level actions may threaten a pillar of the local economy—agricultural activities. “NAFTA has been extremely good for our company,” said a Lima-area food processor, citing talk of rewriting it and other trade pacts.90 “Before NAFTA, we had a 20 percent tariff on our product. Today we have zero.” He does not support tariffs that would make his pork snacks more expensive for Mexican consumers and less competitive with other snack options.

Mexico is the top export market for the company’s food products, although they are exported to thirty countries, particularly within Central America and northern South America. “It’s a great business for us down there and has created significant business for us in Ohio.” The 63-year-old company employs 200 workers at its homegrown headquarters in Allen County and another 250 in five facilities around the country and two plants in Mexico and Brazil.91

But tariffs on finished products are not his only concern. He also worries about the impact of an escalating trade dispute on the raw material he needs to produce his pork snacks. In April 2018, in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum imports, China imposed an additional 25 percent tariff on pork imported from the United States. In July, China levied another 25 percent tariff on pork. Since 2011, China has been the third-largest export market for U.S. pork and pork products.92 Mexico, which is by far the largest consumer of U.S. pork and pork products, accounting for 33 percent of exports by volume, levied its own 20 percent retaliatory tariff on pork in June.93

Signs of lower demand for U.S. pork in China are already being seen as a result of the more than 70 percent total tax on U.S. imports and an increase in Chinese production.94 Although lower demand would be expected to yield lower prices for the pork he needs for his products, the Lima-area food processor worries about what a glut of U.S. pork might mean for his business down the road.95 His concern is that farmers and processors without the means to withstand the sudden shift in pricing power would be driven out of business, eliminating capacity to meet demand after the trade tariff tit-for-tat disruptions in market equilibrium subsided. “I would much rather have stability than a short-term downturn in cost” of raw material, he said. “We want stability. We don’t want a roller coaster ride.”

He predicts that the tariffs levied by China and Mexico will be particularly hard on small farmers who do not have the financial resources to ride out the trade dispute. He acknowledges that many of his fellow Trump voters support the administration’s focus on trade—and he even agrees that trade agreements with China have been uneven and unfair—but addressing that imbalance “needs to be handled in a way that doesn’t beat up certain industries.”

“I would much rather have stability than a short-term downturn in cost” of raw material, he said. “We want stability. We don’t want a roller coaster ride.”

A representative of Lima-area businesses agreed. He wishes, instead, that efforts to curb potentially unfair Chinese practices would be better targeted, such as on infringements on U.S. companies’ intellectual property, instead of the current broad-based imposition of tariffs.96 “My concern is Canada and Mexico,” he said. “We do a lot of trade with those two countries.” In addition, Canadian-owned enterprises and other foreign-owned subsidiaries employ hundreds of local workers. The Canadian-owned Husky Energy refinery in Lima is undertaking a multimillion-dollar upgrade, which, over the next two years, is expected to add 1,000 construction workers to the facility’s 400 full-time employees.97

The Lima-area food processor said he is “confident that getting into trade wars is not going to help [U.S. businesses and workers overall].”98 Nor is anti-immigrant rhetoric. “If we don’t allow immigrants to come into the country at a significant pace, we will go from population growth to population decline.” Population growth, he said, is central to economic growth. “Italy and Japan don’t have population growth, and it has affected their economies.” While understanding concerns about immigrants potentially taking good-paying jobs from American workers, he sees a different threat if businesses cannot find suitable workers: quicker adoption of automation. He cited reports of European businesses increasingly turning to automation in response to tight labor markets.99

Marion—A City Seeking to Reinvent Itself

Marion, with a population of 36,000, lies about one hour’s drive north of Columbus. Marion’s economy was once powered by the Marion Steam Shovel (later Marion Power Shovel), which provided the machines that dug the Panama Canal and moved the rockets that sent astronauts to the moon.100 But the company, which once had employed as many as 2,500 workers, was sold in 1977, and the facility finally closed in the late 1990s.101 Marion has been working to revitalize its economy in the years since.102

A combination of private and public investment is helping Marion reinvent itself by focusing on its considerable assets: its location along three rail lines and its proximity to Honda’s complex that includes an automotive test track, a research and development facility, and two assembly plants. Marion is also home to a 2,400-worker Whirlpool facility, touted locally as the world’s largest clothes-dryer plant.103 Although the plant dwarfs all other industrial activities in terms of employment, Marion continues to be a manufacturing area with an attractive pool of talent. It is home to two steel plants. The North Carolina–based Nucor Corporation acquired the Marion Steel Company in 2005 to produce rebar. ArcelorMittal Marion, part of the Luxembourg-based world’s-largest steel producer, welds and processes precision mechanical tubing.104

Longtime residents of Marion remember it as a booming industrial center. People from surrounding areas commuted to the city to work at Marion Steam Shovel and the businesses that supported it. Because the company was locally owned and headquartered in Marion, it employed mid-level managers, accountants, and associated professionals, in addition to assembly-line workers. Advertisers supporting Marion Steam Shovel also moved into the area, spawning another area of specialty. “We were the Madison Avenue of the Midwest,” recalled a local business owner.105

The purchase by “outsiders” of Marion Power Shovel in the late 1970s represented the first salvo in the real war that many Marion residents argued needed to be waged—not directed against free trade, per se, but against the loss of local ownership and control. As big corporations bought out local businesses, the economic bottom line increasingly governed business decisions that did not prioritize the needs of communities and families. Large corporations can more easily move operations around the country and world to gain from advantageous wage differentials, production capacity, tax environments, and even government incentives. The acquisition of smaller local businesses by larger nonlocal ones also increased the distance between owners and executives on the one hand and rank-and-file employees on the other. Historically, company executives and line workers used to be part of the same community. No longer. One consultant advising on the redevelopment efforts of Marion’s lower downtown concurred.106 He tried to contrast what once was with the present day, citing the dozens of places to eat in and around Marion as an example. “But how many of them are locally owned?” he challenged. “Not one.”

Even as a powerful sense of loss hangs over the area, those interviewed stressed that they are not looking to turn back the clock.107 They understand that times have changed—that big businesses have become the new reality and they need to innovate and automate to compete effectively in the global economy. Likewise, Marion needs to innovate and reinvent itself. They regret that, in retrospect, many in the area came to this realization too late, but most are there now. “It was almost a relief when [the last parts warehouse connected to Marion Power Shovel] finally closed,” said one Marion official. “Let’s get our heads out of the 1950s. In some ways, it’s nice to have a funeral and move on.”

Marion has benefited from an entrepreneur frequently drawn to the area because he sees asset and investment potential in abandoned industrial properties. He has been able to repurpose long-vacant buildings and capitalize on the area’s logistical advantages, creating an industrial park and intermodal yard that supports the efficient distribution of products ranging from diapers and laundry detergent to Mexican beer. He and other economic developers explain that Marion has also been able to leverage its strategic location along three rail lines to lure new employers to the area, particularly suppliers to Honda’s facilities just 30 miles away.108

“It was almost a relief when [the last parts warehouse connected to Marion Power Shovel] finally closed,” said one Marion official. “Let’s get our heads out of the 1950s. In some ways, it’s nice to have a funeral and move on.”

Another local real estate developer has been transforming the abandoned department store and office buildings in downtown Marion into residential loft apartments. She is hoping these lofts will help attract young entrepreneurs to Marion as they get priced out of Columbus. She and her colleagues are looking to revitalize lower downtown Marion and recognize that urban dwellings, local restaurants, and coffee shops are needed to attract investment dollars.

Marion has recently been logging some important investment wins. In 2017, Nucor announced plans to invest $85 million in modernizing its facility; and POET, a biofuel company based in South Dakota, said it would invest $120 million in its bioethanol facility in Marion.109 The Union Tank Car Company selected the city as a site for a second facility to re-clad 70,000 rail tankers to comply with new federal safety guidelines. A selling point was the city’s legacy—the vacant, hulking Marion Power Shovel site. The site’s structure allows Union Tank to set up large cranes inside the building to lift the tank cars for rehabbing. “There are only a few buildings in the country where that can happen,” said a longtime economic development professional.110

Some longtime, locally owned businesses are also benefiting from refurbishing operations. A seventh-generation, family-owned padlock business, for example, has found high-value specialization and aggressive automation to be a winning combination for global competition. The company’s president said, “[for much of the company’s existence], all we did was assemble product. We had no competition. But then the world changed. All of a sudden, locks were being made in China and Mexico.”111 The three dozen or so American-made lock companies consolidated into a half-dozen, and some moved operations outside the country. “To be competitive we have had to move to automation,” he said, but quickly added that he had never let any of his employees go as a result of automation, displaying the care for his workers that community members say is absent when local companies get bought by companies in other parts of the country or world. The Marion lockmaker has committed to using only U.S.-made products, but he admits he gets pressure from board members to source from overseas. “But I believe in our country and in building relationships and building places where people can have a fighting chance,” he said. Today, the Marion company’s specialized, high-security locks are used in pipelines, mines, and refineries across the country and worldwide.

Interviewees in Marion conveyed a simple message: we will do what we can to reinvent ourselves and look to the future—just let us have a fighting chance. They stressed that they embrace free trade and see it as vital to the city’s economic well-being. A number of local residents also emphasized that they do not see legal immigrants as a threat. “They are taking jobs in the big cities for which we’re not qualified or lower-paying jobs in retail and on the farms that we do not want,” said one local business owner.112

Marion interviewees stress that they are not looking to assign blame but are up against long odds. Today, the per capita income in Marion County is $33,688 per year, roughly two-thirds of the national average; and 22 percent of Marion’s inner-city residents live below the poverty line.113 As of 2016, only about 12 percent of workers in Marion have a bachelor’s degree or higher—well below the national average of about 30 percent. And outmigration from Marion County continues apace. Its population shrunk by 2.3 percent from 2010 to 2017.114

Coshocton—A City Counting on a New Economic Lifeline

Like in Marion, interviewees in Coshocton also want a fighting chance and what that would entail is similar. But they may be fighting even longer odds, and their economic fate is particularly intertwined with evolutions in the energy sector.

Coshocton, part of Ohio’s Appalachian region, lies little more than one hour’s drive east of Columbus. With a population of around 11,000, Coshocton is the smallest city of the study group.115 Coshocton sits atop the Utica Shale formation but lies one county away from the activities associated with the Marcellus Shale natural gas reserves. Coshocton was once a thriving industrial center embedded within a rural county, but the General Electric laminate plant, the rubber floor mat supplier to the automotive industry, the paper mill, and the rubber glove factory are gone. Today, Coshocton’s largest employment activities are related to coal, steel, and food processing.

Coshocton’s biggest concern is the steady departure of its locally owned companies, with many leaving in just the past several years. In 2007, Lancaster Colony, a Columbus-based holding company, sold off the Coshocton-based Pretty Products automotive floor mat company to focus on its line of glassware, candles, and specialty foods; and the new Michigan-based owner moved Pretty Products production to Tennessee.116 In 2011, the homegrown industrial and medical glove factory, Edmont-Wilson, which the Australian-owned Ansell company had bought years earlier, closed the Coshocton plant and moved production to plants in Mexico and Sri Lanka.117

Perhaps the biggest blow came in 2015, when the community was shocked by the rapid shutdown of its corrugated box plant, a 150-year-old enterprise that was one of the area’s biggest and best-paying employers. Just a few years before its closure, the plant had been part of a series of mergers and acquisitions negotiated to increase market share in the global paper commodity market. In July 2015, WestRock emerged as one of the world’s largest paper companies with $15 billion in revenues and 275 plants in thirty countries.118 Four months later, it shuttered the Coshocton plant in a move to reduce capacity and rebalance markets.119

Many in Coshocton have a personal story of job loss. One woman recalled how her husband lost his job as a boiler operator at WestRock when the paper mill closed.120 Years earlier, he had lost his job at Pretty Products when it relocated and at AK Steel as a part of the layoffs during the recession. When she was younger, she also watched her parents cope with her father’s job loss when General Electric’s Coshocton plant closed. After the recent mill closure, her husband was lucky enough to find new employment nearby, but the new position pays far less than his paper mill job, costing the family some $35,000 in annual income. “We took a considerable hit, as did the other 200 families” affected by the mill closure. She now warns her two teenagers that they have to always be prepared for job losses and financial disruptions. “It has taken years for people to rebound,” she said. “The community really banded together to try to help those hurt. We and the others affected received a lot of support from our community in those dark days.”

Coshocton’s biggest concern is the steady departure of its locally owned companies, with many leaving in just the past several years.

The paper mill closure not only idled more than 200 workers, it left the community awash in excess water capacity due to the plant’s intense need for water. Households experienced a 38 percent increase in their water bills required to offset the revenue lost from 3 million gallons of water that is no longer consumed by the now-shuttered paper mill.121

Aside from the loss of jobs and tax revenues, the mill had also long been an active community partner, supporting local organizations and leading fundraising efforts for the United Way and other charitable activities. The plant’s closure produced a “big ripple effect” that is still being felt, local officials said.122 Loss of local ownership or even plant management with roots in the community further erodes the pool of civic leaders who traditionally would have been assets to turn to in difficult times. “These [outside] companies [that bought up once homegrown firms] are not interested in serving the community. They just want to take the money. I worked for one of those,” said a manager who now works for a locally owned firm.

This firm, a family-owned metals parts manufacturer, found it needed to reform its business when it faced competition from cheaper Chinese products. It invested $1.5 million in state-of-the-art machinery from Switzerland, nearly got out of the lighting industry it had long served because it could not compete on price, sought more contracts with suppliers to the defense industry, and leveraged its expertise in hydroforming irregularly shaped specialty products for the aerospace, medical, and power generation industries.123 The nearly 100-year-old company is succeeding well enough to continue its long tradition of giving back to its community.124 It particularly feels the responsibility of that role as the number of locally owned businesses shrinks.

However, there are simply not enough of these success stories in the Coshocton area. From December 2007 to December 2017, Coshocton County lost approximately 17 percent of its employment.125 Per capita income is below Marion’s at $32,939 and is just two-thirds of the national average.126 As in Marion, only about 12 percent of workers in Coshocton have a bachelor’s degree or higher.127

Despite the spate of job losses over the years, area officials say Coshocton lacks the skilled workers necessary to fill technical jobs involving increasingly sophisticated machinery. Area employers say they have difficulty filling the 100 jobs that are open every day despite an unemployment rate that is still relatively high. “We realize we have a gap in our skilled labor,” said a Coshocton official who focuses on workforce issues.128 She said the area recently received a $285,000 grant for a multi-organizational collaboration to offer adult workers training in industrial maintenance. Education is an area in which Coshocton leaders know they need to improve. But well-educated workers tend to be mobile, willing to relocate in search of better job opportunities. This threatens to deplete a resource the area sorely needs to refresh its economy. “We’re trying to figure out how to entice our young people back,” she said.

In such circumstances, the people of Coshocton are extremely dependent on the industries they still have in the area—steel and coal among them. They recognize that the steel tariffs are costly for some of their locally owned businesses, such as the metal parts manufacturing firm, which is now having to pay more for key inputs. Yet, as discussed earlier, tariffs may benefit other local operations, such as the AK Steel’s Coshocton Works, one of the nation’s top producers of flat-rolled stainless steel. Those interviewed in Coshocton shared a hope that, perhaps over the longer term, tariffs would disincentivize firms from outsourcing overseas and incentivize them to place production in the United States to climb over the tariff wall. “Something had to be done.” Other countries “don’t pay people the kind of wages we do here,” said one Coshocton representative who pointed out the “double standard” of other countries imposing tariffs on U.S. products but complaining about the United States taking similar steps.129 “We’re kind of a society that has done this to ourselves.”

But just as the steel tariffs could be a double-edged sword for Coshocton, the same is true for workers both benefiting and losing out as a result of transitions now unfolding in the energy sector. The shale gas boom in neighboring counties has been described as a “game-changer for U.S. manufacturing,” and Coshocton County officials are hoping that a $7.5 billion proposed petrochemical plant in nearby Belmont County will have downstream benefits for them.130 Companies from Thailand and South Korea may partner in developing this “cracker” plant, which would take ethane, a by-product of natural gas production, and turn it into ethylene, a necessary ingredient for making plastics and chemicals. The project would employ up to 6,000 construction workers and hundreds of full-time employees once it becomes operational.131 It also could draw companies in the plastics and chemicals industries to the surrounding area.

Yet, the plentiful natural gas supply that makes such an investment possible has also served to undercut the profitability of coal production and coal-fired power generation—both of which have been important contributors to Coshocton’s economy. Several interviewees said that the Conesville Power Plant is expected to cease operations in 2021, eliminating more than 200 well-paying jobs.132 Conversion of the coal-fired plant to natural gas, if feasible, would not be expected to employ nearly as many workers as those needed for coal-fired production. Despite its proximity to energy stores, Coshocton lacks a natural gas pipeline. Coshocton also lacks infrastructure improvements, such as four-lane highway access, to attract businesses drawn to the area to take advantage of plentiful energy. Internet access is another challenge, as it is for many remote, rural communities.133

Local officials recognize the issues they face and are working hard to address them, an area’s economic development official said.134 But they seek partners in this mission at the regional, state, and federal levels. “We need help. We can’t do this by ourselves.” Yet, what is also clear is the personal commitment to community. “I was born and raised here. I see the potential we have. I know we can rebound,” the official said of her zeal in promoting Coshocton. “We do have a lot of people who went through a horrible time [of job loss], but they still feel blessed. They still think this is a great community and a great place to live.”

The struggles and viability of the Coshocton local community is what preoccupied their people most. Under the circumstances, it is understandable why they, in particular, might question if the United States should continue spending billions of dollars on what some referred to as “seventeen years of nation-building” in Afghanistan.135

Concluding Thoughts

There are a multitude of perspectives on how U.S. foreign policy impacts the economy and working families. And this explains, in large measure, why policymakers have defined the economic objectives they seek to advance through foreign policy in very broad terms that could be applicable for all. But as the above narratives illustrate, an approach that relies on broad principles will invariably benefit various constituencies but lead to painful dislocations for others. Backlashes against trade policy are therefore not surprising in areas where domestic investments have not been made to adequately address the dislocations.

As can be seen in the case of Ohio, and across its communities, the rising tide of economic growth has washed over the state but not lifted all boats. The reality on the ground revealed in the profiles of six Ohio communities suggests a need to explore how domestic and foreign policy can adapt to invest in people through place. This is especially important for communities that contend with the by-products of an increasingly globalizing economy in the form of abandoned factories and power plants that have become economic millstones.

To be sure, some of Ohio’s communities, such as Columbus, are thriving, and others are making progress in revitalizing their economies and growing opportunities for good-paying jobs. Those communities worry about rash changes to a status quo economic and policy environment that could threaten their well-being. Other communities are struggling in an economic and policy environment that they see as stacked against them and dismissive of their needs. What they ask for are policies, both foreign and domestic, that afford them a fighting chance. As they explained, a fighting chance means:

  • Not adopting more free trade agreements that force American workers to compete with those in other countries earning very low wages.
  • Taking a tough line against those who do not play by the rules in the global economy, particularly China.
  • Not forcing local firms to compete with companies that have the size and clout to wrest special treatment from U.S. federal and state governments or that have received financial support and protection from other countries.
  • Not incentivizing externally owned companies, as they relocate overseas, to leave local communities to deal with decaying buildings and infrastructure.

The challenge policymakers face is to provide communities and workers with this fighting chance, while preserving the benefits of America’s global trade and engagement that enable many others to prosper. At heart, this means moving beyond debates simply about trade and facing the hard trade-offs inherent in any course of action they must consider.

Table 9136

Correction: Two sentences in the Lima subsection have been deleted. They discussed a Marine reserve unit in Lima company that suffered heavy casualties in Iraq in 2005. Despite the company’s name, it was in fact based in Columbus, not Lima.


1 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, S. Ahmed, and J. Sullivan, Columbus, June 29, 2018.

2 Ibid.

3 Phone interview conducted by F. Stewart, August 3, 2018.

4 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, S. Ahmed, and J. Sullivan, Columbus, June 29, 2018.

5 Bill Canis, “The Motor Vehicle Supply Chain: Effects of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami,” Congressional Research Service, May 23, 2011,

6 Zoe Bambery, Cynthia H. Cassell, Rebecca E. Bunnell, Kakoli Roy, Zara Ahmed, Rebecca L. Payne, and Martin I. Meltzer, “Impact of a Hypothetical Infectious Disease Outbreak on US Exports and Export-Based Jobs,” Health Security 16, no. 1 (2018),

7 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Is the U.S. Export Economy at Risk From Global Infectious Outbreaks?,” February 13, 2018,

8 International Trade Administration, “U.S. Imports of New Passenger Vehicles and Light Trucks, Value and Units,” and “U.S. Exports and Imports of Automotive Parts,” 1989-2017,

9 General Motors Authority, “General Motors Manufacturing Plants,” 2018,

10 Ford Motor Company, “Operations Worldwide,” 2018,

11 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, S. Ahmed, and J. Sullivan, Columbus, June 29, 2018.

12 U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, Hearing on Modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement, testimony by Susan Helper, July 18, 2017.

13 U.S. Census Bureau, “Census Bureau Reveals Fastest-Growing Large Cities,” May 24, 2018,

14 Interview conducted by F. Stewart and S. Ahmed, Columbus, July 9, 2018.

15 Columbus 2020 website, “Columbus-2020 Progress,” accessed September 7, 2018,

16 Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Columbus, OH Economy at a Glance,” July 2018,, data extracted October 17, 2018.

17 National Center for Education Statistics, “Ohio State University—Main Campus,” College Navigator, accessed September 6, 2018,

18 The Ohio State University Statistical Summary, and

19 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, S. Ahmed, and J. Sullivan, Columbus, June 29, 2018.

20 Brookings and JPMorgan Chase, “Columbus Global Connect: Global Trade and Investment Plan,” The Columbus Region, no date,

21 “Tissue Maker Sofidel Breaks Ground in Circleville,” Columbus Dispatch, July 18, 2016,

22 Interview conducted by S. Ahmed, Columbus, May 2018.

23 U.S. Census Bureau American FactFinder, “ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates: 2012–2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates,” Franklin County Ohio 2016 data, accessed September 6, 2018,

24 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, S. Ahmed, and J. Sullivan, Columbus, June 29, 2018.

25 Ibid.

26 Hannah Halbert, “Working for Less: Most Common Columbus Jobs Pay Too Little,” Metro Area Employment Fact Sheet: Columbus, Policy Matters Ohio, April 30, 2018,

27 Bureau of Economic Analysis, “Personal Income by County, Metro, and Other Areas,” Columbus Metropolitan Area 2016, accessed September 6, 2018,; Bureau of Economic Analysis, “SA1 Personal Income Summary: Personal Income, Population, Per Capita Personal Income,” United States 2016, updated September 25, 2018,, accessed October 16, 2018.

28 The Cincinnati metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is actually Ohio’s largest metro area at 2.18 million people, but it extends beyond state borders. Columbus and Cleveland are the largest metro areas contained within the state. The Columbus MSA, at 2.08 million people, now edges out Cleveland’s 2.06 million people. See the U.S. Census Bureau American FactFinder, accessed September 7, 2018,

29 Campbell Gibson, “Population of the 100 Largest Urban Places: 1950,” U.S. Census Bureau, June 15, 1998,; and U.S. Census Bureau American FactFinder, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population,

30 U.S. Census Bureau American FactFinder, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population,

31 Bill Shkurti and Fran Stewart, “Toward a New Ohio: Questions Every Candidate Should Answer,” The Ohio State University, March 2018; Bureau of Economic Analysis, “SA1 Personal Income Summary,” United States 2016, data updated September 25, 2018,; Bureau of Economic Analysis, “CA1 Personal Income Summary,” Cuyahoga OH 2016, data updated November 16, 2017,

32 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Cleveland, June 26, 2018.

33 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment, accessed June 27, 2018; Columbus 2020 website, “Columbus-2020 Progress,” accessed September 7, 2018,

34 It is headquarters to the 152-year-old Sherwin-Williams Company, KeyCorp Bank, and Forest City Realty Trust (although in July it was announced that Forest City would be acquired by a Toronto-based real estate investment fund). See Ohio Development Services Agency, “Ohio Major Employers—Section 1,” May 2018; Scott Suttell, “Forest City Realty Trust Agrees to Be Sold to Brookfield Asset Management in an $11.4 Billion Deal,” Crain’s Cleveland Business, July 31, 2018,

35 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “State and Area Employment: Hours and Earnings,” Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio, accessed October 17, 2018,; Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Cleveland-Elyria Mentor, OH Economy at a Glance,” July 2018,, data extracted October 12, 2018.

36 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Cleveland, August 2, 2018.

37 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “State and Area Employment: Hours and Earnings”; Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Cleveland-Elyria Mentor, OH Economy at a Glance.”

38 Ohio Development Services Agency, “Ohio Major Employers—Section 1.”

39 Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Employment and Wages: Home Health Aides,” May 2017,

40 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Cleveland, June 26, 2018.

41 Phone interview conducted by F. Stewart, July 25, 2018.

42 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Cleveland, June 18, 2018.

43 Interviews conducted by F. Stewart, Cleveland, June 18 and June 26, 2018.

44 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Cleveland, July 4, 2018.

45 Phone interview conducted by F. Stewart, July 25, 2018.

46 Ohio Development Services Agency, “Ohio Exports Report: 2017,” February 2018,

47 International Trade Association, “Ohio Report 2017,” 2017,; Cleveland MSA share is calculated by F. Stewart: Cleveland’s share of $50.1 billion in exports is 17.6 percent; if its share of employment is similar, nearly 44,000 of the 250,000 jobs attributable to export activities would be in the Cleveland MSA.

48 Business Roundtable, “How Ohio’s Economy Benefits From International Trade & Investment,” 2015,

49 Phone interview conducted by F. Stewart, August 3, 2018.

50 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Cleveland, June 26, 2018.

51 Ibid.

52 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Cleveland, August 2, 2018.

53 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Cleveland, June 26, 2018.

54 U.S. Census Bureau American FactFinder, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population.

55 Ohio Department of Development, “Ohio Research Office, Ohio Major Employers—Section 1,” May 2018,

56 Loren Thompson, “Mega-Base: What Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Means for the Economy of Ohio,” Forbes, April 18, 2018,

57 Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment,” Dayton Ohio 2000–2009,

58 Jim Kavanagh, “GM Plant’s Closing Like Death Knell in Dayton,” CNN, December 1, 2008,

59 Ben Rooney, “Ohio Reels as NCR Moves to Georgia,” CNN Money, June 2, 2009,

60 JobsOhio, “Fuyao Glass America Celebrates Grand Opening of Moraine Plant,” October 23, 2016,

61 Phone interview conducted by F. Stewart, September 5, 2018.

62 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Dayton, July 10, 2018.

63 Barrie Barber, “Wright-Patt Economic Impact on Region Up to $4.3B a Year,” myDayton Daily News, January 26, 2016,

64 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Dayton, July 10, 2018.

65 Phone interview conducted by F. Stewart, September 5, 2018.

66 U.S. Department of Defense, “DOD Approves Community Adjustment Assistance Grant for the Southwest Ohio Region,” September 15, 2015,

67 U.S. Air Force SBIR/STTR, “Connecting the Air Force to Small Business: FY 2017 Review,” 2018,

68 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Dayton, July 10, 2018.

69 Lean manufacturing is a technique for reorganizing production to reduce waste, lower costs, and improve quality. The approach has been practiced in the automotive industry for decades and has been increasingly adopted in other manufacturing companies large and small. The IUE-CWA’s Lean/high-performance program seeks to change the perspective on Lean manufacturing away from viewing it simply as a management tactic to reduce labor to understanding its necessity as a tool in remaining globally competitive. By training and encouraging union members to become partners in management efforts to reduce waste and costs, the IUE-CWA hopes to keep more union jobs in the United States. See IUE-CWA, “LEAN/High Performance Workforce Program,” accessed September 7, 2018,

70 IUE-CWA, “LEAN/High Performance Workforce Program,” accessed September 7, 2018,

71 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Dayton, July 10, 2018.

72 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Archived News Releases,; Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Seasonally Adjusted Metropolitan Area Estimates,

73 Jeff Stein, “Federal Reserve Chair: Decline in Worker Share of National Economy ‘Very Troubling’,” Washington Post, July 17, 2018,; and David Autor, David Dorn, Lawrence F. Katz, Christina Patterson, and John Van Reenen, “The Fall of the Labor Share and the Rise of Superstar Firms,” U.S. Census Bureau, May 1, 2017,

74 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Dayton, July 10, 2018.

75 Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN), “Donnelly, Brown, Gillibrand Introduce ‘End Outsourcing Act’ to Promote American Workers,” January 30, 2017,

76 Arthur Sullivan, “Representing Workers, the German Way,” DW, December 12, 2017,; Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), “U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Introduces Legislation to Rein in Stock Buybacks and Give Workers a Seat at the Table,” March 22, 2018,; Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), “Companies Shouldn’t Be Accountable Only to Shareholders,” Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2018,

77 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Dayton, July 10, 2018.

78 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Dayton, July 10, 2018.

79 Fred Steiner, “Lima’s Fight for Its Refinery Detailed by Bluffton University Professor Perry Bush,” Bluffton Icon, July 17, 2012,

80 Doug Wissing, “The Unstoppable Abrams,” American Legion Magazine, August 2013,

81 Defense Spending by State, Fiscal Year 2013, U.S. Department of Defense and Office of Economic Adjustment.

82 Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “Kingdom of Morocco—M1A1 SA Abrams Tank Enhancement, Support and Equipment,” June 18, 2012,; Senator Robert Portman (R-Ohio), “Portman: Lima Will Benefit From New Military Sales to Saudi Arabia,” August 10, 2016,

83 House Appropriations Committee, Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, “Fiscal Year 2018 Defense Bill,” March 21, 2018,

84 Population and Population Growth: U.S. Census Bureau, “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017,” Lima Ohio Metro Area 2017, accessed October 17, 2018,

85 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Lima, July 11, 2018.

86 Ibid.

87 Emily Campbell, “The Path From Poverty to Prosperity Can Be a Roller Coaster: An Examination of Hourly Wages, Expenses, and Monthly,” Center for Community Solutions, July 2016,

88 Josh Ellerbrock, “Pilot Program Rolled Out to End ‘Benefit Cliff,’” Lima News, May 4, 2018,

89 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Lima, July 11, 2018.

90 Ibid.

91 Ibid.

92 Veronica Nigh, “The Squeal Is Real—U.S. Pork Exports to China Plummet,” Market Intel, May 29, 2018,

93 Sara Brown, “U.S. Pork Surprised by Mexican Tariffs, Cautiously Optimistic on China,” AG Web, June 5, 2018,

94 Veronica Nigh, “The Squeal Is Real—U.S. Pork Exports to China Plummet”; and U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade,” April 10, 2018,

95 Phone interview conducted by F. Stewart, July 19, 2018.

96 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Lima, July 11, 2018.

97 Interview conducted by F. Stewart, Lima, July 11, 2018; and Camri Nelson, “Husky Refinery Buys Global Energy Land,” Lima News, March 2, 2018,

98 Phone interview conducted by F. Stewart, July 19, 2018.

99 Gergely Szakacs, “Enter the Robots: Automation Fills Gaps in East Europe’s Factories,” Reuters, February 7, 2018,; and phone interview conducted by F. Stewart, July 19, 2018.

100 U.S. Census Bureau, QuickFacts: Marion County, Ohio,; Marion Area Chamber of Commerce, Marion County Community Profile,; and Ohio History Central, “Marion Steam Shovel Company,” accessed September 8, 2018,

101 Ohio History Central, “Marion Steam Shovel Company,” accessed September 8, 2018,

102 Marion Acquisition: Bucyrus Acquired the Marion Power Shovel Company in 1997, accessed September 8, 2018,; and interview conducted by F. Stewart and S. Ahmed, Marion, June 20, 2018.

103 Marion Area Chamber of Commerce, Marion County Community Profile,; and Dan Gearino, “Marion Whirlpool Plant Keeps Churning Out Dryers: Generations Have Cycled Through Factory Doors,” Blade, September 18, 2016,

104 Marion Area Chamber of Commerce, Marion County Community Profile,; and World Steel Association, “Top Steel-Producing Companies 2017,” accessed September 8, 2018,

105 Interview conducted by F. Stewart and S. Ahmed, Marion, June 20, 2018.

106 Interview conducted by F. Stewart and S. Ahmed, Marion, June 21, 2018.

107 Interview conducted by F. Stewart and S. Ahmed, Marion, June 20, 2018.

108 Ibid.

109 Drew Bracken, “Blueprint: Everyone Has a Role in Marion’s Revitalization,” Marion Star, March 25, 2018,

110 Interview conducted by F. Stewart and S. Ahmed, Marion, June 20, 2018.

111 Ibid.

112 Ibid.

113 Ohio Department of Development, Ohio Research Office, Bureau of Economic Analysis Per Capita Income (May 2018); Bureau of Economic Analysis, “SA1 Personal Income Summary: Personal Income, Population, Per Capita Personal Income,” United States 2016, updated September 25, 2018,, accessed October 16, 2018; U.S. Census Bureau, QuickFacts: Marion City, Ohio, income data 2012–2016,

114 U.S. Census Bureau, QuickFacts: Marion County, Ohio,

115 Population and Population Growth: U.S. Census Bureau, “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017,” accessed October 12, 2018,

116 Paul Wilson, “Coshocton Factory to Close, 200 Losing Jobs,” Columbus Dispatch, August 28, 2007,

117 Mike McNulty, “Ansell to Close Ohio Glove Production Site,” Rubber & Plastic News, November 14, 2012,

118 “WestRock Company Formed With Completion of Merger of MeadWestvaco and RockTenn,” Globe Newswire, July 1, 2015,

119 “WestRock Paper Mill Shuts Down,” Coshocton Tribune, December 16, 2015,; Alex Knisely, “150-Year-Old Business to Close,” Times Reporter, October 25, 2015,; and interviews conducted by F. Stewart and S. Ahmed, Coshocton, June 28, 2018.

120 Phone interview conducted by F. Stewart, September 6, 2018.

121 Interviews conducted by F. Stewart and S. Ahmed, Coshocton, June 28, 2018; and Kyle Rowland, “Closed Plants Shake Central Ohio City,” Blade, July 18, 2016,

122 Interview conducted by F. Stewart and S. Ahmed, Coshocton, June 28, 2018.

123 Ibid.

124 Jennifer L. Manfrin, “Jones Metal: ‘It’s About Helping Others,’” Coshocton Tribune, August 21, 2016,

125 Bureau of Labor Statistics, “QCEW State and County Map: Ohio,” 2017,

126 Ohio Department of Development, Ohio Research Office, Bureau of Economic Analysis Per Capita Income (May 2018); Bureau of Economic Analysis, “SA1 Personal Income Summary: Personal Income, Population, Per Capita Personal Income,” United States 2016, updated September 25, 2018,, accessed October 16, 2018.

127 U.S. Census Bureau FactFinder, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population.

128 Interview conducted by F. Stewart and S. Ahmed, Coshocton, June 28, 2018.

129 Ibid.

130 Mark Barteau and Sridhar Kota, “Shale Gas: A Game Changer for U.S. Manufacturing,” University of Michigan, July 2014,

131 Interview conducted by F. Stewart and S. Ahmed, Coshocton, June 28, 2018.

132 Ibid.

133 Kaleigh Rogers, “Rural America Is Building Its Own Internet Because No One Else Will,” Motherboard, August 29, 2017,

134 Phone interview conducted by F. Stewart, September 6, 2018.

135 Interview conducted by F. Stewart and S. Ahmed, Coshocton, June 28, 2018.

136 Population and Population Growth: U.S. Census Bureau, “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017,” accessed September 12, 2018,; growth figures calculated using 2010 and 2017 population estimates.

Foreign-born Population: U.S. Census Bureau, “Percent of People Who Are Foreign Born: 2012–2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates,” accessed September 12, 2018,

Per Capita Income: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, “Personal Income by County, Metro, and Other Areas,” “Personal Income by State,” accessed September 12, 2018,

Median Home Value: U.S. Census Bureau, “Median Housing Value of Owner-Occupied Housing Units: 2012–2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates,” metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas and state data, accessed September 12, 2018,

Major Nonfarm Employers (Columbus): The City of Columbus, “Major Employers in Columbus,” accessed September 18, 2018,

Major Nonfarm Employers (Cleveland): Cuyahoga County has the largest employers of the counties making up the Cleveland metropolitan statistical area; see County of Cuyahoga, Ohio, “Annual Informational Statement in Connection With Obligations of the County,” September 26, 2016,

Major Nonfarm Employers (Dayton):, “Top Employers in the Dayton Area,” February 27, 2015,

Major Nonfarm Employers (Lima): Lima News, “Largest Employers in Lima Area,” March 6, 2016,

Major Nonfarm Employers (Marion): Marion Area Chamber of Commerce, “Marion County Community Profile,” accessed September 18, 2018,; The Columbus Region, “Marion County Largest Private Sector Employers,” accessed September 18, 2018,

Major Nonfarm Employers (Coshocton): Coshocton County Chamber of Commerce, “Coshocton County Profile,” accessed September 18, 2018,

Major Nonfarm Employers (Ohio): Ohio Development Services Agency, “Ohio Major Employers—Section 1,” May 2018,

Manufacturing Employment (Columbus): Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Columbus, OH Economy at a Glance,” July 2018 data not seasonally adjusted,, data extracted October 12, 2018.

Manufacturing Employment (Cleveland): Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Cleveland-Elyria Mentor, OH Economy at a Glance,” July 2018 data not seasonally adjusted,, data extracted October 12, 2018.

Manufacturing Employment (Dayton): Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Dayton, OH Economy at a Glance,” July 2018 data not seasonally adjusted,, data extracted October 12, 2018.

Manufacturing Employment (Lima): Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Lima, OH Economy at a Glance,” July 2018 data not seasonally adjusted,, data extracted October 12, 2018.

Manufacturing Employment (Marion and Coshocton): Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Databases, Tables, & Calculators by Subject,” Marion and Coshocton Counties, Ohio, Total Employees in All Industries and Manufacturing Employees, Preliminary March 2018 data,, data extracted October 16, 2018.

Manufacturing Employment (Ohio): Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Databases, Tables, & Calculators by Subject,” Ohio Statewide Total Nonfarm Employees and Manufacturing Employees not seasonally adjusted,” July 2018 data, data extracted October 16, 2018.