For more info, contact:

Gene Pierce, 614/395-6480
Alexandra Denney, 714/422-7416
Dr. Timothy Nash, 989-859-0637

Study Shows Big Jump in Ohio’s Economic Competitiveness,

Future Gains Require Attention

(Columbus, April 18, 2023) Ohio business leaders and economics experts today unveiled data showing Ohio’s economic competitiveness has dramatically improved in the last five years, jumping from 24th most competitive among the fifty states in 2018 to 13th in 2023.  The study, led by economists Dr. Timothy Nash of Northwood University and Dr. Jing Li of Miami University, also identified several issues deserving future attention.

“This study shows Ohio’s competitive standing jumped from 24th in 2018 to 13th in 2023 among all fifty states,” said Northwood’s Dr. Nash, “gains primarily generated by

  • improvements in Ohio’s tax structure,
  • a drop in Ohio state debt per capita,
  • an improved opinion of Ohio’s business climate among national business leaders,
  • dramatically improved auto insurance rates and
  • several tax rate reductions. Report, p. 6

“This data is reinforced by two other sets of data, the “Big Mac” and “U-Haul” factors,” Nash continued.  “Ohio consumers can purchase a Big Mac in Ohio, a product identical to Big Macs sold across the country, at $4.03, the seventh lowest price nationwide, Exhibit 157 while net U-Haul trips transporting goods and materials show Ohio ranked 9th in net trips into the state. Exhibit 158

“Bottom line, Ohio has made tremendous economic progress over the last few years, and these gains give hope for continued economic growth,” Nash concluded.

Local Ohio cities and metro areas were also ranked, showing Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati in the middle of the pack among Great Lakes cities in terms of economic growth from 2020-2021, above cities like Milwaukee but below Indianapolis and Detroit. Report, pp. 35 & 178, Exhibit 120.  Study data on thirteen Ohio city/metros was also included Report, Exhibits 122 and 123, pp. 35, 180-181.

The study also itemized several key factors inhibiting Ohio’s future economic competitiveness:

  • Ohio’s tax standing ranks only 37th among the 50 states, far behind Indiana’s overall tax rank of 9th and Michigan’s 12th. This low standing was caused in part by Ohio’s low rankings of 41st for personal income taxes, 39th for corporate taxes and 36th for sales tax. Report, p. 13
  • Ohio’s Gross State Product has lagged well behind the national average, growing only 116% to the U.S.’s growth rate of 160% since 1998. Report, p. 9
  • Job growth was slow, increasing only 4.8% in Ohio while U.S. jobs overall grew 23% from 2000 to 2021. Report, p. 10
  • Ohio’s entrepreneurial activity was weak, earning a score of -1.37 versus a national figure of 0.6 according to the Kauffman Early-Stage Entrepreneurship (KESE) Index. Report, p. 11

Senator George Lang, co-chair of the Ohio General Assembly’s Business First Caucus said, “The results here speak for themselves. Ohioans across the state are benefiting from lower taxes, higher wages, and a state that is poised to become a national leader in commerce. I’m proud of the progress Ohio has made and look forward to continuing to make Ohio the most business-friendly state in the nation.”

The study was conducted under the auspices of Ohio’s “Big Six” coalition of business advocates: Ohio Business Roundtable, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and NFIB-OH, whose members employ millions of Ohioans and dominate Ohio’s $829 billion annual economic output.

The business leaders noted in a group statement, “We applaud the many Statehouse leaders who have made it a priority to improve Ohio’s economic climate and look forward to continued efforts to improve Ohio’s economic health.  We’ve made strong gains, and we look forward to the challenge ahead.”

To download the full study, go to