Stark County – An Economy in Transition

Stark County, Ohio has a number of key advantages for growing businesses, but there’s something that makes us different from other business centers around the nation. It’s our rich manufacturing heritage, going back more than 100 years. Our manufacturing background is our niche, and even though a lot of things have changed over the years, manufacturing is still what we do best.

Due to its geographic location in northeast Ohio, Stark County is strategically located at the crossroads of the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. markets. Within 500 miles, Stark County provides companies with access to 30% of the total U.S. Personal Income; 30% of total U.S. Retail Sales and 30% of the U.S. population. Our location also provides businesses with easy access to customers and a vast supply chain, with most everything you need within 60 miles. Growing companies like operating in Stark County for several reasons: the availability of a skilled workforce, its transportation hub, water, low-cost utilities, and seven colleges and universities that collaborate with businesses to help them innovate and adapt, train and prepare employees for jobs in emerging technologies.

In addition, the number and variety of national and international companies with facilities here is also a testimony to the strength of the area’s business environment. The Stark County area serves as the corporate headquarters for The Timken Company, TimkenSteel, Diebold Corporation, The Kenan Advantage Group, Shearer’s Foods and the new headquarters for LG Fuel Cell Systems, Inc.

On top of all that, Stark County has a growing reputation for its strong partnerships with the economic development community, education and private industry. These partnerships have a proven track record of advocating for tax breaks, state and federal support funding, and other financial resources to help business succeed and grow here.

This is a great source of strength and pride for our area, but we have no intention of resting on our laurels. Stark County is well positioned to embrace the future as we eagerly move forward into the new economy with a focus on companies in advanced manufacturing and new emerging technologies like fuel cells, wind energy and oil shale exploration and development.

In Stark County, we are fortunate to have two advanced energy developments that will provide significant economic benefits in terms of future jobs and new capital investment to our area. These two include Wind Energy development and Fuel Cells development. The Timken Company recently dedicated the first-of-its-kind Wind Energy Research and Development Center in North America, located in Jackson Township, Ohio. At this Center, Timken will develop ultra-large bearings and seals on sophisticated equipment that replicates the operating environment of large multi-megawatt wind turbines. The $11.8 million research and development center represents a collaborative effort by Stark State, Timken, the Stark County Port Authority, and the Stark Development Board. The center will anchor the College’s new Emerging Technologies Airport Campus on 15 acres of property adjacent to the Akron Canton Airport. The 18,000 sq. ft. center has created new jobs and has launched a unique research practicum and technical certification program for Stark State students. It will also provide critical training for current and future technicians across the spectrum of operating services required by today’s wind turbine manufacturers, and operators.

Ohio is one of the few places in the world where all phases of fuel cell development take place, from research and development, to component supply, to final product manufacturing—leaving the state poised to lead the nation's fuel cell industry as a top research and manufacturing hub. Stark County is home to LG Fuel Cell Systems, Inc. which represents a joint venture between LG and Rolls Royce. LG Fuel Cell Systems has its global headquarters on the campus of Stark State College in Jackson Township, Ohio.

Another event significant to Ohio and Stark County’s economy is the discovery of vast Marcellus and Utica shale deposits in the state.

This is due to improved drilling techniques and technology that allow the extraction of previously economically unfeasible underground reserves of natural gas and oil. The extraction of oil and gas resources from the Marcellus and Utica shale in Ohio is still in its early stages, but hold the promise to provide an economic boom to the state, similar to what has occurred in states like Pennsylvania, North Dakota and Texas. To date, the major holders of Utica shale leasing rights in Ohio include Chesapeake Energy; Enervest & EVEP; Chevron; Anadarko; Hess Corporation; SA; Devon Energy Production and Consol/CNX Gas. These companies also have attracted numerous oil and gas service companies, like Baker Hughes in Massillon, Ohio as well as other engineering firms and well-field supply companies.

State-Wide Manufacturing Outlook

Ohio manufacturing is projected to maintain its share of total output, but increased productivity in this sector will likely result in a continued decline in employment. As a result, large manufacturers may not provide many new jobs, but they will be a major source of replacement jobs for those seeking employment in the future. Employment growth in manufacturing will most likely be seen in highly entrepreneurial companies that manufacture a product with global demand, invest heavily in new product innovations, and utilize efficient production processes.

Service Industry Outlook

Today, the service industry accounts for a higher percentage of U. S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) than 20 years ago. The service sector includes the following types of industries:

  • Trade, transportation and utilities
  • Information
  • Financial activities
  • Professional and business services
  • Education and health services
  • Leisure and hospitality
  • Government

The latest employment figures by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the Canton-Massillon MSA (metropolitan statistical area - December, 2011) show that Stark County has a total of 165,600 (non-farm) wage and salary employment in December, 2011. Of this total, 32,400 persons (20%) are employed in the goods-producing industry, and 133,200 persons (80 %) are employed in the services-providing industries.

Stark County Demographics

For the most up-to-date demographic, social, economic, and housing statistics from the U. S. Census Bureau for Stark County, click here and enter Stark in search bar.

Stark County's Largest Companies (2012)

(over 250 employees)

*Source: Workforce Initiative Association, dba The Employment Source


Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Office of Workforce Development Bureau of Labor Market Information

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

click for most current data