About Delaware County...

Key Industries

Employment Distribution, Delaware County and U.S., 2012

Employment Distribution, Delaware County and U.S., 2012

Percentages are the share of total employment for Delaware County and the United States, respectively.
*Sectors with less than three percent of Delaware County employment: natural resources and mining (0.4%/1.5%); information (1.6%/2.0%); and other services (2.6%/3.5%). Source: Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The driver industries of the Delaware County economy are as follows.  Key drivers include:

  • Manufacturing industries:
    • Agricultural chemicals, paints, and coatings.
    • Nonmetallic mineral products.
    • Metals and metal products.
    • Machinery.
  • Warehousing and storage.
  • Finance and insurance.
  • Professional and business services:
    • Computer-related services.
    • Advertising.
Delaware County’s Strategic Economic Development Plan includes in-depth analyses of the long-term needs of the key driver industries.  These focus both on growth of individual occupations and replacement for workers who transition to other jobs.
Information Technology

The projection is for ten-year industry growth of 1,000 positions – 40% – with an additional replacement need of 440, so the information technology industry in Delaware County will need more than 1,400 new workers over the ten-year period, including 800 in computer-focused occupations.  However, these totals include only workers in the computer industry; they do not include computer professionals working in other industries.  The total number of these workers in all industries in Delaware County cannot be determined, but there is a need for 50 new workers in manufacturing and finance and insurance industries over the next ten years.  So while the need for 800 IT professionals is almost certainly the vast majority of the total need, others will be needed elsewhere in the Delaware County economy as well.


As noted earlier, while Delaware County’s overall concentration of manufacturing output and employment is less than average, a total of 21 manufacturing
industries have a level and growth of manufacturing output qualifying them as current or emerging drivers. These 21 drivers differ somewhat from those at
the regional level, including some Delaware County drivers that have no significant presence at the regional level. Consequently, Delaware County’s
manufacturing concentration increases the manufacturing and overall diversification of the Columbus Region.

Worth noting is the fact that Delaware County’s manufacturing output is somewhat more heavily tilted toward non-durable goods than that of the region;
non-durable output accounts for 44.4% of Delaware County’s manufacturing output but only 37.3% of regional output. Non-durable goods manufacturing is
generally less cyclical than durable goods manufacturing.

Also worth noting is that unlike the Columbus Region and all counties within the region except Knox, Delaware County enjoyed a net increase in both
manufacturing output and manufacturing employment between 2001 and 2012. County manufacturing employment increased 803 (16 percent) during that period,
despite the loss of 838 jobs during the recession. In contrast, regional manufacturing employment suffered a net decrease of 31,304 positions (27.8%)
between 2001 and 2012.

Distribution and Logistics

Distribution and logistics are closely related, but different.  Distribution involves the physical movement and storage of raw materials, inventory, and finished goods through the supply chain.

Logistics is the management of distribution in order to ensure that goods arrive at their destination when needed and economically, and that inventory is effectively managed.  Logistics is a high-skill field including sophisticated statistical modeling and the understanding of a wide variety of transportation, storage, and handling regulations.

The ten-year projections show a growth and replacement need of more than 1,300 over the ten-year period.  More than half of this need is in only four warehouse occupations: laborers and material movers, stock clerks, packers and packagers, and industrial truck and tractor operators.  However, more than one-quarter of the need is in various management, business operations, and administrative support occupations.  These include logistics occupations.

Finance and Insurance

JPMorgan Chase is Delaware County’s largest employer and the largest private-sector employer in the Columbus Region.  This region boasts the company’s largest concentration of employment in the world. Additionally, insurance activities employ more than 2,900. Insurance employment more than tripled between 2001 and 2012, and now employs more than twice the number that would be expected in an economy Delaware County’s size.

The 10-year projections show a total need of more than 1,100 but this may be substantially understated, both because of the fact that some industries are omitted from the federal government databases that are the basis of the projections and because a large (but unknown) number of JPMorgan Chase employees are apparently classified by the government in other industries – likely in corporate administration.

Retail and Restaurants

Economic development usually ignores retail development on the grounds that these businesses are considered to be locally-serving, merely circulating dollars that are already present in the economy, and that the market provides these retail businesses as they are needed – fulfilling the axiom, “Retail follows rooftops.”

However, retail is an important amenity that serves to attract workers to communities and neighborhoods. Research has found that property values are significantly higher if well-functioning retail concentrations are nearby. This implies that ensuring the health of retail developments increases property values not merely of the retail centers themselves, but also of the surrounding residential developments.

Further, Delaware County’s extensive retail developments draw retail spending from the remainder of the Columbus Region and beyond. Thus, from a strictly county perspective, retail does bring dollars into the economy, supporting Delaware County employment, and generating sales tax collections.

The analysis estimates a ten-year growth and replacement need for 5,000 new workers in retail and restaurants. The three largest occupations, retail salespersons, waiters and waitresses, and cashiers, account for half of the total need. A relatively large fraction of employees in many high-demand occupations have less than a high school diploma, as well as some with college but no degree.  This is actually numerical evidence of the attraction of these jobs for high school and college students.

Thus, some of the 11,000+ Delaware County residents currently enrolled in college and the 7,500 enrolled in grades 10-12 provide an important talent pool for Delaware County’s retail and restaurants.


Given the small number of direct agriculture workers in Delaware County, no detailed analysis and projection of agricultural employment is undertaken.  However, agriculture is critically important to the Delaware County economy and its role as an emerging driver industry creates a need to focus on the workforce needed to support the industry.

Numerous specialized services are needed to support farm operations and move the farm’s output to market. Business service providers such as attorneys, bankers, accountants, tax preparers, and real estate brokers with knowledge of the unique environment of farming are a critical need.

The farmers indicated that these professionals are not difficult to find, but this could be a significant opportunity for students and existing professionals given the key role of agriculture in Delaware County and nearby counties as well. OSU has training sessions on these issues annually.