MARYSVILLE - Honda associates on Tuesday celebrated the 40th anniversary of the historic start of production at Honda of America Mfg. Inc. in Marysville, in 1979, when the first 64 associates began producing the Elsinore CR 250 motorcycle, which began the rapid growth of Honda in America.
After Honda became the first Japanese automaker to build products in the United States, automobile production quickly followed on Nov. 1, 1982, at the adjacent Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio. Honda now has five U.S. auto plants and in 2018, nearly two-thirds of all Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the United States were made in America. With 12 major plants in this country, Honda also produces engines and transmissions, ATVs and sideby- side vehicles, a variety of power equipment products and the HondaJet in America. Honda’s initial $35 million investment in the Marysville Motorcycle Plant has grown to more than $11 billion in Ohio, and an investment of over $21 billion in Honda’s U.S. operations. Honda now employs more than 25,000 associates at its 12 plants in America. Honda also has steadily increased its local purchasing of parts and materials with more than 600 original equipment suppliers in America and cumulative parts purchases of over $440 billion.
“Honda’s success in Ohio has always been driven by the dedication and innovative spirit of our associates and this 40th anniversary milestone is a tribute to Honda associates, past and present, who have provided their energy, ideas and passion to create high-quality products for our customers,” said Mitsugu Matsukawa, president of Honda of America Mfg. “Based on the team we have in Ohio, and the opportunities ahead, I’m excited for the future of Honda in America.”
In addition to the commitment to local manufacturing, Honda has invested over $1.1 billion in Honda’s U.S. R&D operations, including major centers in Ohio, California, North Carolina and Florida. This year, Honda also marked the 60th anniversary of its business in the U.S., with sales operations established in Los Angeles, California, in June 1959.
Quick Facts: Honda in Ohio Since Honda began production in Ohio in 1979 …
· Employment has grown to 15,000 Honda associates in Ohio.
· Investment has surpassed $11 billion in its Ohio operations.
· Auto production totals nearly 20 million vehicles at Honda’s three Ohio auto plants.
· Engine and transmission production exceeds one million units per year.
· Purchasing of parts and materials has grown to $10 billion annually.
· Operations expanded to include R&D and parts procurement.
· Charitable contributions top $100 million to Ohio community organizations.
40 Years of Honda manufacturing in America
Honda marks its 40th anniversary of manufacturing products in America this month. Honda was the first Japanese automaker to produce products in America, beginning with motorcycles in 1979, followed by the start of automobile production in Marysville, Ohio, on Nov. 1, 1982.
Over the course of four decades, Honda has steadily grown its manufacturing capabilities in the region. Honda now employs more than 25,000 associates at 12 plants in America with the capacity to produce more than one million automobiles, three million engines, 400,000 power equipment products and 330,000 powersports products each year, using domestic and globally sourced parts. In 2018, nearly two-thirds of all Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the U.S. were made in America.
Honda also manufactures the HondaJet advanced light jet and GE Honda HF120 turbofan engines in America. Cumulatively, Honda has invested more than $20.2 billion in its American manufacturing capabilities, including more than $5.9 billion over the past five years. The company also works with more than 600 original equipment suppliers in America with cumulative parts purchases of nearly $400 billion over 35 years.
Submitted by Honda of America Mfg. Inc.
More people confident enough to start looking for jobs, expert says.
By Hasan Karim, Springfield News-Sun Staff Writer
ONLY IN THE NEWS-SUN
State figures showed the unemployment rates in Clark and Champaign counties went up in July as the local labor force continues to grow.
The unemployment rate increased to 4.9% in Clark County, up from 4.2% in June. The increase comes as the county’s labor force has seen steady growth over recent months, according to state data released by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.
In Champaign County, unemployment rose to 4.3%, which is up from the 3.6% reported in June. Both counties experienced a downward trend in unemployment numbers starting at the beginning of the year. However, that rate increased slightly in May and has continued to increase into July.
“This is one of those cases in which the unemployment rate went up for the right reasons,”said Bill LaFayette, an economist and owner of Regionomics, a Columbus-based economics and workforce consulting firm.
LaFayette said the labor force in Clark County is larger than what is usually projected for July, leading to an increase in the unemployment rate. Though unemployment tends to go up between the summer months, more people are either currently employed or looking for work compared to the same period last year, he added.
Clark County’s labor force at the end of July had 64,200 people, according to data collected by the Ohio DJFS.
Those numbers showed a decrease of 100 people in the county’s labor force compared to the previous month.
However, there is usually a dip of around 700 people in the county’s labor force between June and July, LaFayette said, noting that a decrease of only 100 people shows that more people are confident enough to start looking for jobs.
He added that those numbers do not take into account seasonal patterns that affect labor and unemployment trends. Those factors can include seasonal employment, major holidays and school schedules.
Taking into account those seasonal factors would bring Clark County’s unemployment rate closer to 4.4 percent in July, compared to a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.9 percent reported in June.
LaFayette said factoring in seasonal patterns also brings Clark County’s labor force for July to 64,100 people and that is actually an increase of 600 compared to June’s seasonally adjusted numbers. He said the labor force compared to this time last year is up 1.3 percent.
“For Clark County, this is very good given that the population is stagnant,” LaFayette said. Clark County’s population was estimated to be 134,585 people last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Amy Donahoe, director of workforce development with the Chamber of Greater Springfield, said local companies are taking a more aggressive approach in attracting people that are not in the workforce. She said that includes raising starting wages as well as tweaking benefit packages.
“We have seen record low unemployment numbers in the past year,” Donahoe said.
“Employers have responded to that. They want to make sure they are attracting and retaining good talent.”
Ohio’s seasonally adjusted unemployment in July was 4 percent and remained the same from June, according to the Ohio DJFS. The national rate was 3.7 percent in July, also unchanged from June.
In Champaign County, the labor force decreased by 100 from June and had 20,100 people last month. The number of those reported as employed also went down by 100, according to the most recent information from the Ohio D JFS.
Marcia Bailey, director of the Champaign Economic Partnership, said despite a dip in the labor force, there is not a shortage of job openings in the county, especially in manufacturing and healthcare.
“There are still plenty of job opportunities here. We are still seeing pretty consistent openings,” Bailey said.
She said local manufacturer Rittal has recently posted a notice that it will be conducting open interviews on Tuesday. The company is looking to hire assembly operators, machine operators, welders and paint loader/unloaders, according to the notice.
Bailey said the starting hourly wages for those positions range from $13.40 to $16, according to information provided by Rittal.
Contact this reporter at 937- 328-0355 or email Hasan.Abdul-Karim@coxinc.com.
The Springfield News-Sun will continue to provide unmatched coverage of jobs and the economy in Clark and Champaign counties and has covered recent stories relating to wage increases, the latest housing numbers and job growth.
JOBLESS RATES - 2019
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She added that KTH has about 900 full-time associates, 130 of them “retirement eligible.”
The ESG team oversees the maintenance of KTH’s 1,100 robots and troubleshooting of mechanical and electrical issues.
Bernardi and Boggs are the first interns that KTH has assigned to work in the ESG department, though the company has had engineering internships for several years, Wead said.
In the Advanced Manufacturing Program at Triad, both interns completed classes in robotics, CNC, manufacturing operations and advanced manufacturing. Their Advanced Manufacturing teacher, Todd Bodey, made them aware of the internship opportunity at KTH.
“I’m not sure where this will take me,” Boggs said, “but the robotics will be very interesting. I’m looking forward to working with everyone here.”
Bernardi said he also is looking forward to working with the ESG team. “I love problem solving.”
The CEP has coordinated other job signing ceremonies for graduates and students at ORBIS, Bundy Baking Solutions and Rittal. The events, patterned after signing ceremonies that colleges conduct for new student athletes, are part of the CEP’s workforce development initiatives.
The CEP has been partnering with employers and local schools to better inform students about local employment opportunities and to help schools prepare students for the local workforce.
KTH Parts Industries Inc. makes underbody structural frame components for cars and is Champaign County’s largest manufacturing employer. KTH is a Tier 1 supplier of automotive components worldwide.
Champaign County gets visitors, and soon they’ll have a place to stay, too.
While estimates show that both counties experienced declining populations over the last several years, the worst may be coming to an end, Bill LaFayette, an economist and owner of Regionomics, a Columbus-based economics and workforce consulting firm said.
The estimated population for Clark County in 2018 was 134,585, down slightly from 134,649 in 2017.
In Champaign County, it was 38,754 in 2018 as compared to 38,824 in 2017.
“When you look at the chart, the big story is this,” LaFayette said. “Although Clark County is losing population, it’s losing population at a slower rate than it once was.”
LaFayette is right — and the same statement rings true for Champaign County as well Between 2015 and 2016 alone, Clark County’s estimated population dropped by more than 1,000 residents.
In Champaign County, between 2010 and 2016, the county lost an estimated 1,358 residents.
However, between 2016 and 2018, Clark County lost just 116 residents. Champaign only lost an estimated 70 residents during that same time period.
Officials in Clark and Champaign counties and LaFayette have pointed to two things they say has slowed population declines over the last three years; jobs and cost of living.
Economic development “I would guess the reason for the decline slowing is the economy,” LaFayette said.
“More jobs are popping up.”
Jobs are the biggest factor when it comes to why a resident moves to, or from, an area, LaFayette said.
So far in 2019, the unemployment rate has continued to fall, according to data by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.
The unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent in Clark County in March, down 1.3 percent since the start of the year. In Champaign, it has dropped 1.1 percent for the year, finishing at 3.4 percent in March.
Melanie Flax Wilt, Clark County commissioner, said within the last couple of years, Clark County has turned its attention to workforce development.
“Workforce development is huge for us,” Flax Wilt said. “We’ve been focused on bringing new jobs here.”
The decision to focus more on economic development is bolstered by a 2018 labor market analysis conducted by the University of Cincinnati Economic Center in collaboration with the Chamber of Greater Springfield.
The analysis found about 54 percent of residents in Clark County travel to neighboring counties for work.
About 20 percent of residents surveyed for the study told researchers they travel to other counties because they don’t believe jobs are available in Clark County in their industry. Around 44 percent of those surveyed cited better wages in other counties.
Flax Wilt said people in Clark County have come together over the course of the last couple of years.
“It’s an exciting time in Clark County. I see it everywhere I go. I believe people recognize that we are trying to make positive changes,” Flax Wilt said. “People recognize that this county has a lot to offer.”
Cost of living Bryan Heck, Springfield city manager, said living in Clark County allows people to “see their dollar going further.”
“I think it’s an attractive area to them,” Heck said.
“We’ve worked to bring additional jobs and that helps, of course, but the cost of living is also low compared to other regions.”
Steven Hess, Champaign County Commissioner, agrees.
“Whether it’s a lower cost of living or a job, it doesn’t matter,” Hess said. “Whatever gets people here.”
A low cost of living is what brought Gerard Milewski and his family to Springfield.
Milewski said he, his wife and their two children, ages 3 and 10, moved to Springfield in 2017 from Cincinnati.
“Being able to buy a home for cheap was a huge selling point,” Milewski said.
Because of low cost of living, Milewski said he doesn’t see the population decline as a bad thing.
“The population decline doesn’t bother me,” Milewski said. “I think it encourages people to move to the community, people like me, to move here and put money into a home.”
Homes in Clark and Champaign counties sold quicker in 2018 than in 2017, according to statistics gathered by Western Regional Information Systems & Technology, an Ohio-based company that monitors real estate trends, including in Clark and Champaign.
Data from WRIST shows that 364 homes were sold last year in Clark County, up 23 from 2017, and 380 homes were sold in Champaign, up 15 from 2017.
It was a transition settling into a smaller community, Milewski said, but since then his family has enjoyed living in Springfield.
“The city has potential,” Milewski said. “I’ve seen smaller communities, like Springfield, in Cincinnati turn into big cities, and I think the city and the county do a good job of focusing on local issues.”
Because Clark County is a smaller county, Milewski said, it can allow local governments to focus on more localized issues.
“In Cincinnati, the city government is focused on major league sports teams, stuff like that, which in the long run doesn’t really affect every day people,” Milewski said. “Here, the county — local government — they are focused on small businesses and how to improve life for the average person.”
Marcia Bailey, Director of the Champaign Economic Partnership, said counties across Ohio, like Clark and Champaign counties, should focus on marketing themselves to, “the average person.”
“We need to make certain we are marketing ourselves to attract and increase our population,” Bailey said.
In marketing themselves, counties should play on their strengths, Bailey said.
“The lifestyle, career choices, new schools, growing up here and now retiring, wanting to live in a more relaxed community with a lower cost of living,” Bailey said. “I see a positive indication in our population that we are building on things like that.”
It tells ‘more about your community’ While there are theories as to why the population in Clark and Champaign counties might be leveling off, more concrete answers probably won’t be available until late 2020, when results of the national decennial census will be released.
Although the U.S. Census Bureau carries out hundreds of surveys every year, like population estimates, its most well known duty is still to conduct the decennial census.
According to the Census Bureau’s website, a decennial census: determines the distribution of Congressional seats; makes planning decisions about community services such as where to build new roads and how to distribute more than $675 billion in federal funds to local and state governments; and provides age information for social security and other retirement benefits.
“It controls a lot,” LaFayette said.
It also allows people to better understand their communities, LaFayette said.
“The census can tell you the characteristics of the population, earnings, education level, age distribution, whether or not people have been working, where people have been working,” LaFayette said.
That’s why, he said, it’s important for residents to participate in the count taken every 10 years.
“It tells you more about your community than anything else,” LaFayette said.
Contact this reporter at 937-328-0329 or email Riley.Newton@coxinc.com.
CLARK, CHAMPAIGN POPULATION ESTIMATES COMPARED TO 10 YEARS AGO
139,404 Clark County estimated population in 2008
134,585 Clark County estimated population in 2018
40,263 Champaign County estimated population in 2008
38,754 Champaign County estimated population in 2018
SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU
The Springfield News- Sun is committed to covering economic growth in Clark and Champaign counties.