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Press Release

New research spotlights the promise of small-scale manufacturing in Cincinnati

Final part in series that documents state of urban manufacturing across U.S.

A new piece of research from the Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA) highlights the growth potential of manufacturing in the city of Cincinnati. The research, called the State of Urban Manufacturing: Cincinnati City Snapshot, is the final part of a six-city series produced by UMA that will provide first-of-its-kind data on city-based manufacturing across the country, with an emphasis on makers and small-scale manufacturers. UMA partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and Cincinnati Made to perform this research.

The Cincinnati metropolitan area’s manufacturing profile has shifted over the past decade, but the sector is still a vital part of the local economy. Manufacturing paid $8.10 billion to workers in the region in 2016, making it the top sector in the economy by total wages. With 114,370 jobs, manufacturing is also the second-largest employment sector in the region.

The State of Urban Manufacturing: Cincinnati City Snapshot research, which is based on interviews and surveys of more than 100 local manufacturers, reveals that Cincinnati is rich with a new generation of growth-minded manufacturers of all sizes.

The median year of founding for companies that participated in the State of Urban Manufacturing: Cincinnati City Snapshot was 2013—the second youngest median age among all six of the State of Urban Manufacturing cities. (Detroit had the youngest median age.)

Seventy-nine percent of participating firms in Cincinnati that provided revenue data experienced revenue growth between 2014 and 2016. Eighty-four percent of sole proprietors, or companies run by the owner without employee help, said they planned on adding employees in the next two years. Overall, 96 percent of firms said they expected to be a bigger company in two years’ time.

However, nearly three-fifths of firms said that reaching new customers, and accessing more capital, were two key challenges that could stunt their growth. Fifty-three percent of firms said that they needed additional capital to grow, but only eight percent were actually able to obtain additional capital. Of the 83 companies founded in Cincinnati since 2007, 93 percent said they relied on their own money to get started, and 40 percent said they relied on financial help from friends and families.

Additionally, thirty-eight percent of respondents said that they struggled to find qualified workers. Together, each one of these barriers is impacting Cincinnati manufacturers today: nearly 56 percent of all business said they forewent sales or business opportunities in the past twelve months because of limited production capacity.

The State of Urban Manufacturing: Cincinnati City Snapshot outlines specific recommendations city officials and local stakeholders can heed to help manufacturers overcome these challenges going forward. With small-scale and large manufacturers alike working to bring new products and employee opportunities to Cincinnati, this new report captures what these entrepreneurs need today to stay within the city.

Click here to read the State of Urban Manufacturing: Cincinnati City Snapshot. Other city snapshots are available at

About UMA/The State of Urban Manufacturing

The Urban Manufacturing Alliance is a coalition of more than 600 members across 150 cities that are building manufacturing economies fit for the 21st century. UMA shares and amplifies what works from city to city, and supports the implementation of local, regional, and national policies that encourage the development of environmentally sustainable, diverse, innovative, and equitable manufacturing in urban settings. We envision a future where urban manufacturing is thriving in our cities; creating dense, vibrant networks of businesses, talent, communities, and consumers; and reflecting the diverse communities in which it is located through the ownership and employment opportunities it offers.

For the State of Urban Manufacturing series, UMA partnered with manufacturing practitioners in Milwaukee, Detroit, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Portland, Oregon, to collect local data and profile local manufacturing ecosystems in each city. In Milwaukee, UMA worked with community-based organizations to tour manufacturing facilities, hold focus group meetings, and conduct surveys with more than 100 manufacturers between 2016 and 2017.

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.455.4479