Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Masters of War: Greene County Economy

People think that old Bob Dylan protest song was about Vietnam.

It came out in ’63, too early for ‘Nam. It’s about what used to be called the “military industrial complex”

When Dylan sings:

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

…he is talking about things like the RAND Corporation, Herman Kahn, Defense contracting, “Weapons System Acquisition”, and “Research Development Test and Evaluation” (RDT&E).

The last few of these drive the economy of Greene County, and perhaps to an increasing extent (as manufacturing fades) Montgomery County, too.

The now familiar (on this blog) NAICS key:

....and the sectors in Greene County aggregated by payroll:

Right out the gate one can see the Professional, Scientific and Technical (PS&T) sector dominating the local economy., driving economic growth. No recession or stagnation in Greene County.

Breaking out the sectors to see payroll trends. Again PS&T is the driver, with a cluster of sectors in the mid range and a gaggle near the bottom:

Taking a closer look at the mid-range sectors, on can see the steady growth of retail and health care (compared to the flat-lining retail sector in Montgomery County). Manufacturing is affected by the recession, but not dropping as much as in Montgomery County:

The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

Nothing but blue skies and sunny days ahead for technical professionals in Greene County. Opening up the PS&T sector, one sees the strength of computers and Scientific R&D, and also Engineering to some extent:

But looking at payroll trends one sees Engineering perhaps affected somewhat by the recession, Yet note the very impressive takeoff of the Computer Services and R&D sectors in aggregate payroll.

Note that it was Computer Services that drove the growth of the PS&T sector in Montgomery County, too, so one wonders if there is a relationship?

Employment growth matches payroll to some extent:

...and, once again the takeoff in Computers, and delayed takeoff in R&D, both independent of the recession. One can infer that the Greene County economy is driven by defense budgets not the business cycle. Laying in the change in the executive branch from Democratic to GOP, one can see a close correlation between increase in “good times” for tech employment and GOP control:
So, if one wants a good economy for this area one should vote for the Republicans (at the Federal level), as they are more generous with the defense budget.

The Masters of War.

The Dayton Development Coalition (DDC) is pretty upfront the impact of defense contracting. Here is a map of some of the larger contractors, from their "Dayton Region At A Glance" download.

Familiar names to anyone who knows anything about this word. There might be smaller contractors and subcontractors not shown:

The DDCs strategy was to try to get more workload in infotech---computers and whatnot---and then hope for some spin-offs, either in civilian workload being brought in by the contractors, or start-up firms from the techie workforce (assuming this workforce is entrepreneurial enough to do startups).

But then comes Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), which is will shift some of infotech workload out of the area.

The Dayton Daily News reported:

The biggest loss in terms of jobs appears to be the Development and Fielding Systems Group, formerly known as the Materiel Systems Group. It's located at Wright-Patterson but is a unit of the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts….

….The Pentagon recommended the move as part of an effort to consolidate technical work known as C4ISR — command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance….

….The job impact also isn't clear. The section of the BRAC report dealing with the C4ISR realignment said the economic impact on the Dayton area would be 2,250 jobs, including 988 contractor jobs — far more than the report's economic impact tables indicate.

To diagram this, the hit to the “private sector” footprint via contractors and indirect economic impact could be considerably larger than the military activity being relocated. (assuming the contractor workforce relocates): one can expect a shift in employment and maybe subsector based on the changing military R&D/techie things going on at WPAFB, moving from infotech to bio-medical:

...perhaps one can also expect a shifting economic development spin from the DDC, too, as the BRAC shifts come online.

(if you want to see enlarged graphs click on the images).

No comments: