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November 14, 2008
Looking at the Week Header
On Thursday, November 13, Dr. Joe Rochford attended a meeting of the Ohio Grantmakers Forum's Education Task Force in Columbus. On Friday, November 14, he attended the Fall Forum of the Ohio Program Evaluators Group.
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Canton Metro Area Leading Northeast Ohio in Productivity Growth

As Northeast Ohio (NEO) gears up to become globally competitive in a new information-based and high tech manufacturing economy, there are some very early indications that the Canton-Massillon Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is taking the lead in productivity growth.*

That's the finding from the Regional Dashboard of Economic Indicators 2008: Comparative Performance of Midwest and Northeast Ohio Metropolitan Areas** prepared by the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. Dashboard studies are conducted for the Fund for Our Economic Future, a collaboration of foundations, education institutions and individuals in Northeast Ohio that have united to strengthen the economic competitiveness of the region through grantmaking, research and civic engagement. This is the third such study to update the dashboard.

The study looked at the performance of the Canton, Cleveland, Akron, and Youngstown metropolitan areas in comparison to a sample of 136 metropolitan areas with population between 300,000 and 3.5 million. The objective of the study is to continue monitoring the performance of NEO metropolitan areas over time. Here is some of what the study found.

Long-Term Productivity Growth, 1995-2005 and 1996-2006: Canton showed the highest rank improvement over the two time periods. The study indicates that this is possibly attributable to Canton's improved ranking in Technology Commercialization - a contributing factor to productivity growth.

Technology Commercialization: An indicator that is composed of three variables; two represent the process of innovation commercialization-venture capital per employee and number of patents per employee. The study found that the Canton area improved significantly to be the only MSA in NEO that improved its rank between 2000 and 2006.

Short-Term Productivity Growth, 2002-2005 and 2003-2006: The Canton area grew the fastest (6.5%) among NEO metro areas and improved its
ranking by 38 positions to be ranked at the top of the second quartile (36th) among all 136 metros.

While on a comparative basis, NEO lags behind most of the nation in many factors related to economic growth, strengths are beginning to emerge across the entire region along many indicators, such as in Canton's productivity growth. While the Fund cautions that it may take up to 10 years to see significant changes in per capita income and job growth,*** the needle is beginning to move.

Percent of Change in Productivity
Ranking of 136 Metro Areas for 2003-2006
Northeast Ohio Productivity

* Defined in the study as: gross metropolitan product (value-added output produced in the region: a regional counterpart to the national gross domestic product) per employee.
**  The entire report may be downloaded at
*** See About the Dashboard at:
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The Stark Education Partnership, Inc., is a 501(c)-3 non-profit education reform support organization in Stark County, Ohio crossing the lines of 17 public school districts. The Partnership collaborates with educators, business, community and civic leaders to create and respond to opportunities that will add substantial and measurable value to education.

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