The Cleveland metro area is comprised of Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties and contains close to 2.1 million residents, or nearly 20 percent of the Ohio population. The population of the metro shrunk during the past decade and will continue to trend down over the next five years, although job growth will slow the decline.
Historically a durable goods manufacturing area, Cleveland has recently taken great strides toward boosting its medical and biotech sectors. Today, Cleveland is a premier corporate center featuring national and international corporations. There are eight Fortune 500 companies with headquarters in the region, including Eaton and KeyCorp. The Cleveland GMP is rising slowly once again as the local economy tries to gain momentum. Retail sales are also improving and will surpass the U.S. rate of growth this year.
Cleveland Clinic, the area’s largest employer, has gained worldwide prominence and is expanding rapidly. Growth within the Cleveland Clinic, along with other healthcare providers like the University Hospitals of Cleveland, has fueled a dynamic biomedical industry.
Cleveland is also a distribution center and a market for raw materials. Large quantities of iron ore, limestone, sand and gravel, iron and steel products, petroleum products, and cement pass through the Port of Cleveland annually. As one of the country’s major railroad centers, Cleveland has taken advantage of its position as a crossroad for major trunks of telecommunications by laying fiber-optic lines along railroad tracks. As a result, a number of telecommunications hotels have established a presence in the area, providing a strong communications backbone that helps attract high-tech companies.
The Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor MSA is located in the northeastern corner of Ohio, west of Pennsylvania, and extends 100 miles along the Lake Erie shore and more than 40 miles inland.
The eastern part of the Cleveland metro lies on the Appalachian Plateau at an elevation of 1,100 feet, while the western portion sits upon the Lake Plain at approximately 600 feet. Higher elevation in the east results in significantly greater snowfalls. The City of Cleveland is the seat of Cuyahoga County and the second largest city in Ohio.