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The Greater Cleveland economy Research Paper


In the northeastern state of Ohio in the United States of America lies the vast city of Cleveland. The city was founded in the year 1796 as a major manufacturing center, owing to its strategic location. The city is situated on the shores of Lake Erie and is connected to several canals and railroad lines.

This led to its rapid growth into a modern day city. Cleveland boasts of a population of 396,815 as per the 2010 census. It is the 45th largest city in the USA and the second largest in the state of Ohio (Marshall 89). From the vast nothingness, the city of Cleveland grew rapidly into becoming a manufacturing hub, a business center, an administration center among other socio-economic subsectors that it is known for today. The city enjoys good administration due to the presence of learned leaders.

The city of Cleveland has a strong economy that developed gradually with developments in each single subsector leading to the development of a subsequent subsector. Despite the few economic hardships that the city has encountered to this day, the city’s development would well be termed as a success story. Below is a discussion of how this strong economy developed to be what it is today and what the future looks like for its residents.

The early Cleveland economy

The area that today forms Cleveland city started as a strong economic development in the year 1832 after successful completion of Ohio-Erie canal. This opened the land to its neighbors and the ease of access soon began attracting prospectors. By 1836, the city had grown so steadily that it became a City-state.

The city of Cleveland, due to its location, was endorsed as a transportation hub. The Ohio-Erie canal offered a link to the great Lakes and the Erie Canal did a greater job of connecting the City to the Atlantic Ocean. The city was also connected to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi river.

Cleveland City served as a major destination for iron ore transported from the mines in Minnesota and the coal that was majorly transported by the rail that connected the city to the neighboring cities. An oil refinery industry was also set up in 1870 and this was just one of the many subsectors that benefited from the ease of access of the city as the oil was imported from the Middle East (Rome 78).

By early 20th century, the city became an important American manufacturing center with automotive manufacturing firms taking the lead. Peerless, Jordan and Winton were among the first automotive companies. With development of such companies, the transport system improved further with roads traversing remote locations in the City. With such a development track, the city of Cleveland was developing at a very high rate that by 1920, it was voted fifth largest city in the Greater American region.

The Cleveland economy as it is today

The modern day economy of Cleveland is made up of various subsectors that are directly dependent on one another. The successful development of one-subsector leads to the need to have yet another subsector and in so doing, the city has developed into what it is today. Some of these subsectors, their development, together with their relation to other subsectors are discussed below


The city is currently home to countless manufacturing firms. There are numerous automobile manufactures that employ over thirty thousand citizens (Porter 76), with about one thousand five hundred being absorbed into this sector annually. Other Multi National Companies such as coca cola, Pepsi, the paint manufacturers, Crown among many other product-manufacturing firms operate in the city of Cleveland.

Therefore, manufacturing is the number one employer of the city’s work force. The vast number of companies and industries offer employment to many individuals who would otherwise be rendered jobless. The city is currently enjoying services from top class manufacturing firms.

Schools, Colleges and academic institutions in general

This is a service industry. The City of Cleveland has numerous schools, both public and private offering much demanded education in the American curriculum. The City also has a number of colleges and Universities most prominent among these are Western Reserve University, which is a world renowned research institution with both domestic and foreign students, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Institute of music and the Cleveland state University.

The education sector has grown to become a large service-providing sector, which helps over 2000 foreign students enter the state of Ohio annually (foreign in this context means any student who is not a citizen of the state of Ohio). The rise of this large number of colleges, schools and Universities has also boosted the development of yet other sectors of the economy, with real estate industry once again being the largest gainer followed closely by the transport sector.

Transportation in the city of Cleveland

The city of Cleveland is accessible by all available means of transport. The port of Cleveland, located in the mouth of Cuyahoga River, is a major freight terminal on Lake Erie receiving much of the raw materials used by the region’s manufacturing industries. Cleveland International Airport is always vibrant with business destinations all over the world, including Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the South America.

The extensive rail and the modernized road system add up to this indicator that business in the City of Cleveland went international so long ago. With a vibrant city that hides a lot in history and has such a superb transport service, it is only natural that tourism industry is also up and kicking.

The Media Industry in Cleveland

Cleveland has had quite a number of newspapers but it is notable that some of these papers flopped due to the unpredictable nature of the market. To this day, the only remaining daily is the Plain Dealer. Other previous newspapers include, Cleveland press, Sun Herald among others. Cleveland also has ten television stations linked to major American channels such as WJW (Fox), WEWS-TV, (ABC) and the WOIO (CBS).

The city of Cleveland is also served directly with over 31 radio stations broadcasting both in the AM and in FM. These 31 stations are based in the city but other stations based outside the city can also be accessed while in the city. The media industry in the city offers employment to close to 30,000 people and is a reflection of the level of technological development of the city. This city has 76% internet access which is among the highest worldwide with fiber optic cable boosting the speed of internet, having been laid in the year 2002 (Larkin 16).

A part from radio, television and newspaper, the film industry is also on the rise, with several films having been shot in the city with stars from within such as blockbusters and the 1986’s Howard the duck serving as examples of such movies. The film industry has also seen the setting up of some magnificent movie theatres and the rise of casinos. In other words, the city’s nightlife offers employment to yet some other individuals and this has contributed to the twenty-four hour economy.

The Health Sector

Another major contributor to the economy of Cleveland city is the health sector. The high number of hospitals in the city ensures that many people are in the job market with the city’s Cleveland clinic being the largest private employer with a labor force of about 37000 people. The institution is ranked as one of the best American hospitals with top ratings as published in the U.S News and World Report.

The city’s health care industry has such institutions as Cleveland University Hospitals, which is well-known center for treatment of cancer and the Metro health centre. With such wonderful health service providers, the economy of Cleveland is only expected to grow, as the health of its workforce is always likely to be in good condition (Yarborough 11). In addition to the revenues that the industry generates from services, customers feel satisfied due to quality services.

With a vibrant work force, recreation becomes just but a natural requirement. Cleveland has several recreational facilities with parks and sporting centers all across the vast city (Cho 10). Furthermore, this gives rise to the sporting industry, which is also a major contributor to the economy of the city of Cleveland.

The Sports Industry

Cleveland has professional sports teams in such sports as football for men and women, basketball, tennis, hockey among others. Institutions such as schools also have their teams with tournaments that are organized periodically. This offers great entertainment to the public while earning revenue to the respective institutions. Local sports services include; Progressive Field, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland Browns Stadium, and the Wolstein Center.

A sport is a major economy booster in the city of Cleveland. Sporting facilities are built to the state of the art condition and this is always an advantage to the real estate industry. Other major gainers from the sports industry include the insurance firms and the media industry. The sports facilities are normally insured from such misfortunes as damages from violence, fire among other calamities that these institutions would be prone to. In so doing, such service providers gain a great deal (Roguski 56).

The future of Cleveland’s economy

The city has had many problems in its 200 years of development. A part from conflicts it had with its neighbors in the 70s, the city has come to terms with modern day urbanization problems such as population increase. So many students graduate from universities and colleges than the city can employ.

David Dirck in his book The Encyclopedia of Cleveland history, ascertains that over two third of students in Cleveland drop out of schools and collages before graduating and that the remaining third attain a diploma that certifies only a ninth grade proficiency (14). He therefore asks what kind of future Cleveland can offer to its residents, especially when many residents are poor compared to the American mainstream economy.

From a pessimist’s point of view, Dirck succeeds in convincing one to believe that the economy is likely to flop in the next fifty years, especially when taking the economic stagnation that Cleveland is going through right now.

The city seems to be expanding because more business parlous get erected on daily basis, with roads being re-carpeted. In plain words, it is a nightmare to most people. With a close analysis of what goes on in the city, one can easily note that the city is on an economic standstill. Therefore, the economic is expected to stagnate.

On a more analytical point of view however, one would justly say that the city of Cleveland is yet to develop even further. With the economy moving more to service oriented manufacturing, the future of the city appears stable. There are more hospitality firms such as hotels being set up. Stock brokering firms and insurance firms are on the rise too. These are expectations of many cities in the world. People are changing their lifestyles implying that more services are to be offered to them.

The problem of unemployment will always be there. However, President Barrack Obama is trying to design policies that would help in solving the problem. This will enable the city to grow economically because the state authorities will collect more taxes. Some of the American based international firms such as General Electric are already setting foot in the greater Cleveland region (Toman and Cook 4). The city should strive to produce more knowledge graduates in their institutions of learning because jobs are there.


In two hundred years, the city has grown to become a modern day metropolitan. From just a strategic position two hundred years ago, Cleveland has developed to what it is today that is, a twenty-four hour economy. Despite some of problems that any other city would face, the city of Cleveland would generally be termed as a fast developing city whose future promises more development.

To bring the whole length discussion on Cleveland City’s economy, it would be concluded that Cleveland has been a successful city that has experienced rapid economic growth. A growth that has been contributed by quite a number of reasons. The main reason for success is political stability. Cleveland city has enjoyed a peaceful era, which largely has been responsible to her rapid growth.

The availability of such natural resources as steal ore were just but a few other reasons as to why the city of Cleveland experienced such rapid growths in her economic sector. What is interesting in the whole discussion however is to note how development in one sector leads to development of yet another sector and so on. The need for a manufacturing firm, necessitated by the good transport system led directly to the development of other key industry players and to this day, the change is still on as the city continues to develop.

It is noteworthy to state that the market is also on the change avenue and currently in Cleveland city, service industry is the one developing with insurance industry being on the lead. With a prospective future to hope for, all we are left with is a hope for a better and more developed tomorrow with a stronger economy for the city of Cleveland.

Works Cited

Cho, Janet. “A global venue; Cleveland’s Jones Day law firm makes motions all over the world, but its culture is rooted in the town where it began”, The Plain Dealer, 3 (1), 2006.

Dirck, David. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland history. Indiana; Indiana University Press, 1987.

Larkin, Brent. “Cleveland: the best location bleeding population”. The Plain Dealer, 3(2), 2009.

Marshall, Alli. “Of Cleveland, by Cleveland, for Cleveland (and the world)”. MountainX.com: Asheville Arts and Entertainment, Cleveland Mountain Xpress, 2007.

Porter, Philip. “Erieview, the Big Mistake: “. Cleveland: Confused City on a Seesaw. Columbus,Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1976.

Roguski, Randy. “Cleveland hopes to gain from century-old link to Rouen, France”. Plain Dealer. Retrieved

Rome, Alana. “Cute Is What We Aim For, Circa Survive, As Tall As Lions, Envy On The Coast”. Redefine Magazine: Live Show Reviews, Redefine Media LLC, 2007.

Toman, James and Cook, Daniel. “The Tower“, Cleveland’s Towering Treasure. Cleveleand, Ohio: Cleveland Landmarks, 2005.

Yarborough, Chuck. “WKRK FM/92.3 the Fan replaces rock with sports talk”. Cleveland Live, 3, 2011.

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