Ohio is promoting lower cost of living on billboards across Seattle (GeekWire Photo / Beth Sylves)

Hey, Seattle: Buckeye state is coming for your jobs.

JobsOhio, the Midwestern state business development agency, has a series of billboards across Seattle promoting the benefits of living in a place where “you can actually save for a rainy day.”

The GeekWire team spotted the billboards in the Magnolia and Queen Anne neighborhoods – two enclaves with thousands of technicians bordering key tech campuses (Expedia, Facebook, and Amazon). Of course, these tech campuses are largely empty these days – so it’s unclear how many drivers actually see the billboards.

Even so, the campaign is part of a larger effort by Ohio and other states to promote their properties at a time when the global pandemic has radically changed where and how people work, especially mobile technicians. With these changing work patterns, Ohio and other states hope to capitalize on.

At a recent JobsOhio board meeting, the agency found it was trying to “boldly raise awareness” and responded positively to the response from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on COVID-19. The campaign – called “Ohio is for Leaders” – mainly targets coastal cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Boston.

Part of the advertising campaign in Ohio. (Via JobsOhio)

Not a day goes by without another story about the so-called Silicon Valley exodus – including a play in Axios entitled “The Rebellion Against Silicon Valley,” which cites data that 89,000 households have left San Francisco since the pandemic broke out should. The warm climates of Miami and Austin have turned out to be popular travel destinations for many technicians, but Seattle has also benefited from the recent migration.

Last year, GeekWire reported that Tanium – a $ 9 billion cybersecurity company – had moved its headquarters from the San Francisco Bay Area to Kirkland, Washington. At the time of the move, Tanium CEO Orion Hindawi bluntly told us, “It’s not San Francisco. It was 20 years ago. “

And data suggests Seattle may not be losing as many tech jobs as Silicon Valley. LinkedIn employee migration data shows that Seattle added 2.2 technical employees for every single employee from March to October last year. That’s slightly below the number of 2.5 from 2019. The report also found that the number of people moving to Seattle from the Bay Area increased 28% year over year from March to October.

However, a separate analysis by U-Haul released earlier this month found that Washington had seen a steep decline in migration to the state, falling from 5th to 36th place in 2020. Ohio, on the other hand, jumped three points to fourth on the measurement for the number of one-way U-Haul trucks entering or exiting a state. Tennessee, Texas, and Arizona rounded out the top 5, while California came last.

Ohio is certainly a cheaper place to live than western Washington. However, there are other factors – and we’re not talking about the weather. As an example, Ohio levies a state income tax while Washington state does not.


Plugging Seattle and Columbus, Ohio into a cost of living calculator shows some interesting results. The cost of living in Columbus is 4% lower than in Seattle, according to the SmartAsset calculator.

Unsurprisingly, Seattle housing costs are 18% higher and food costs 13% higher. In the state capital of Ohio, however, tax costs are 29% higher. NerdWallet’s cost of living analysis shows Columbus is 43% cheaper than Seattle, but doesn’t account for state and local taxes.

In a statement to GeekWire, JP Nauseef, CEO of JobsOhio, pointed out the housing costs, the tax structure, the shorter distances and the “abundance of friendly neighbors” in Ohio. He added that Ohio’s “door is open and welcoming”.

“Ohio offers just the right mix of business opportunity and affordability,” he said.

This isn’t the first time business development has focused on technicians in Seattle. In 2017, the City of Calgary displayed a giant billboard next to the Amazon campus in the South Lake Union neighborhood in hopes of attracting attention as a destination for the company’s second headquarters.