ASHLAND — A report assessing the estimated economic impact of Braidy Industries Inc. on its neighboring states of Ohio and West Virginia issued by James V. Koch of Old Dominion University was released by the company on Monday.
Braidy Industries plans to be an advanced manufacturer of metals for the global transportation and defense industries. The company broke ground on the proposed mill in June 2018 and says it remains on schedule to meet its anticipated target of bringing its new aluminum rolling mill at EastPark Industrial Center in Ashland to full commercial operation in 2021.
The new economic report by Koch, Board of Visitors Professor Emeritus of Economics and President Emeritus at ODU, focuses on Braidy’s potential impact as an employer within Cabell and Wayne counties in West Virginia and Lawrence and Scioto counties in Ohio, a region where residents commonly work across state lines. The report stated that the U.S. Census estimates that over 5,000 individuals travel from these counties daily to Boyd County, Kentucky, to work.
Using the U.S. Department of Commerce’s RIMS-II economic impact model, the study forecasts significant economic prosperity generated by Braidy through 2021, including an average Braidy weekly wage 17.5% to 35.5% above regional averages within West Virginia and Ohio, according to the report.
According to the report, estimated annual output in West Virginia would be $238.3 million and $153 million in Ohio. It also reported estimated annual total earnings in West Virginia at $185.3 million and $205.1 million in Ohio.
The report stated that West Virginia will experience 61% of the non-Kentucky economic output impact of Braidy and Ohio will experience approximately 39% of it. It also said that 52% of the economic impact of non-Kentucky jobs will occur in West Virginia, while 48% will be in Ohio.
The report claims that nearly one in every six jobs in Wayne County will be tied to Braidy, as well as one in every seven jobs in Lawrence County, Ohio.
“I think we all expect a new employer like Braidy Industries will have a positive impact well beyond the Commonwealth of Kentucky given its closeness to West Virginia’s border,” said Bill Bissett, president & CEO of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 550 businesses in Cabell and Wayne counties. “Beyond the job opportunities and indirect job growth that will occur, I would also suggest that Braidy increases our ability to market the our region as aluminum in all its forms can be a building block for so many other manufacturing opportunities, especially the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) of aircraft, which we have determined could be a tremendous opportunity for our side of the state border given the land and infrastructure available next to Tri-State Airport.
“Landing Braidy Industries in Eastern Kentucky is a boon for West Virginia. What we must do is make certain that the leadership of Braidy understand the important resources we have here in the Huntington area, such as Marshall University and Mountain Health Network, but also capitalize on the products of this new neighbor in our business community to create new high paying jobs on this side of the river.”
“We are very excited about this economic study and the opportunities that Braidy Industries can provide to Lawrence County and the Tri-State region,” said Jeremy Clay, associate executive director of the Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation. “Today, there are four to five indirect jobs related to every manufacturing job in the United States. We are one Tri-State region and what is good for one of us, is good for all of us. We applaud Tim Gibbs, Bobby Carpenter, and the rest of the Kentucky Economic Development team for all their work to make Brady a reality for our communities.”
This Tri-State economic impact report supplements a previous economic study released in April 2019 on Braidy’s impact on the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
That report found that Braidy will catalyze $2.8 billion in economic growth in Kentucky and $1.54 billion within the six-county Eastern Kentucky region from construction through the first year of production in 2021.
“The Tri-State region is home to a talented workforce eager to help companies like Braidy create prosperity. We chose Ashland, Kentucky because of these dedicated and hard-working people.” said Braidy Industries’ CEO Craig Bouchard. “Dr. Koch’s study shows the power of private companies and communities working together. We have assembled a multi-disciplinary team consisting of the best of the best to make these impact estimates a reality.”