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old Rolling Acres Mall on Romig Road in Akron
GOOGLE EARTH

It’s finally official -- Amazon is coming to Akron and bringing about 1,500 full- time jobs with it. 

Amazon announced early Monday that construction will soon begin on a 700,000 square foot distribution facility on the site of the former Rolling Acres Mall.

The project has been the talk of the town since last year when a then-unidentified employer told Akron City Council it would invest $100 million into the old mall property and generate $30 million in payroll.

a photo of the amazon facility near Dayton, Ohio
GOOGLE

Amazon's announcement about a new facility for Akron prompted several responses from WKSU listeners. 

Cheryl Doss said, "This is amazing for Akron!!"

"I think it’s wonderful and it will help people without current jobs and their families!" said Denise Pistek.

"Excited beyond belief," said Elizabeth Bartz. "1,500 jobs don't usually land in our backyard. Mayor Horrigan worked hard to bring Amazon to Akron."

a photo of Kenmore Boulevard businesses
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

The announcement that Amazon is building a new fulfillment center and bringing 1,500 jobs to the former Rolling Acres Mall site in Akron, has businesses in neighboring Kenmore seeing opportunity.  

The Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance is cautiously optimistic about the impact the world's largest retailer could have. 

How would you feel about a robot interviewing you for a job? Swedish company Tengai is working on an English version of its robot which it claims will ask you questions without biases. Other companies, like HireVue and Humantic, formerly DeepSense, dig for personality traits based on digital interviews and social media accounts.

photo of Rolling Acres Mall
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Amazon has made it official. It will build a distribution warehouse on the site where Rolling Acres Mall used to be in Akron. The facility is expected to create 1,500 jobs.

photo of someone on a job website
rawpixel / SHUTTERSTOCK

Ohio’s unemployment rate was down slightly in June. It was an even 4% last month compared to 4.1 percent in May. 

Some companies in Ohio have jobs that are going unfilled right now.

The number of unemployed Ohioans decreased by 31,000 during the past year. In fact, Keith Lake with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce said it’s now to the point that some businesses are having difficulty finding people to hire.

a photo of Mandy Jenkins
DOUGLAS ZIMMERMAN / ZIMPIX.COM

When The (Youngstown) Vindicator announced it would stop publishing next month, it came at a time when Google Inc. and the McClatchy Co. were preparing to launch an experimental project in the local news space. 

They’re bringing that local news laboratory to Youngstown. 

a photo of computer servers
PROGGIE / CREATIVE COMMONS

Northeast Ohio is facing a labor shortage. That’s according to a report from Team NEO analyzing supply and demand in Northeast Ohio’s labor Market.

Team NEO’s Vice President of Strategy and Research Jacob Duritsky said the demand for health care, nursing and manufacturing jobs outweighs the number of qualified people entering the workforce.

“In those key sectors of the economy, we aren’t pushing enough students out of our programs into those fields where really good opportunity exists,” Duritsky said.

A northwestern Pennsylvania steel mill laid off between 80 and 100 employees this month, a move the company blames on President Donald Trump’s increased tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

The Tall Ships Festival returns to Cleveland this weekend for the first time since 2013 and is expected to bring 60,000 people to the shores of Lake Erie.

Cleveland is the second port of call for the 11 replica and restored vessels from around the world participating in "The Great Lakes 2019 Race."

Erin Short with the Tall Ships Challenge says events like this promote the waterfront, which in many cities, is underutilized.

A photo of Walborn Reservoir
GOOGLE EARTH

Stark Parks is seeking a property tax increase to expand trails and facilities. The park district’s current levy of 1-mill expires at the end of next year and they’re looking to generate more funding.

The director of Stark County Park District, Bob Fonte, said they conducted a survey along with updating the five-year plan for the parks. He said the increase would help fund the things park goers have asked for.

a photo of housing development in Akron
JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

A state labor market study finds unemployment increasing in northeast Ohio, but in Akron there’s one bright spot in the data. The value of new home construction has risen nearly 47 percent in the last year.

The report from Ohio Bureau of Labor Market Information looked at eight metropolitan areas. It found unemployment claims in Akron rose 3.3 percent, and in Cleveland nearly six percent. Both cities also saw a decline in manufacturing hours worked, down nearly five percent in Cleveland.

A photo of a flooded farm field
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The state is giving farmers another opportunity to apply for loans as they deal with severe weather and flooding that has kept many farmers from planting their crops.

The Ohio Treasurer’s Office is reopening its Ag-LINK program which can grant farmers up to $150,000 in loans.

The program usually operates between January and March, but Treasurer Robert Sprague said this can help those struggling with flooding.

East Liberty's Transportation Research Center celebrated the opening of a new $45 million SMARTCenter to test automated cars in real-world environments.

Akron's Main Street
SHANE WYNN / AKRON STOCK

New options for downtown living will soon be available in Akron.

New Jersey developer Tom Rybak plans to begin transformation of the historic Law Building on Main Street into a multi-use complex.

The Law Building faces the Bowery Project, a multi-use development now under construction and planned to open this November.

photo of Indians fans at Progressive Field
AMANDA RABINOWITZ / WKSU

Officials with the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission estimate the financial impact of Tuesday's All-Star Game will be about $65 million -- and that’s before factoring-in ticket sales.

Photo of a boat on Lake Erie
BRIAN BULL / WCPN

Jobs related to waterways are booming in the Great Lakes Region according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Local organizations and government officials met on the banks of Lake Erie to discuss what impact the domestic maritime industry has on Ohio and the Great Lakes region.

Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone says between 2011 and 2016 the maritime industry has added more than 25,000 jobs across the Great Lakes, but the economic impact doesn’t stop there.

Armed with new funders, Cleveland entrepreneur Bernie Moreno says Bedrock Detroit LLC, the real estate firm owned by Dan Gilbert, is now fully onboard with turning The Avenue Shops at Tower City into a hub for tech businesses and blockchain, an easily shared digital ledger system.

A bunch of Twins
TWINS DAYS FESTIVAL COMMITTEE

Twinsburg’s annual Twins Days festival is more than just an opportunity to celebrate twins from all over the world, it’s also a big driver for the city’s economy.

An economic impact survey done by Kent State’s College of Business Administration found that last year’s festival brought in nearly $5.5 million dollars. Associate economics professor Shawn Rohlin  conducted the study.

Cuyahoga County will consider an increase to a local tax, but don’t worry, it’s not for locals.

A one percent hotel bed tax increase is on the county council agenda for Tuesday. County officials estimate it will generate an additional $4.6 million per year, which will go to operations and maintenance of the Huntington Convention Center. If the proposal passes, the bed tax increase would go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Updated at 11:04 a.m. ET

For Douglas Clark, the darkest part of working for Nike in the 1980s was watching American shoe manufacturing "evaporate" in the Northeast in a mass exodus to Asia in pursuit of cheaper labor.

"As a true Yankee — and my father was a Colonial historian — you know, it was heartbreaking," he said.

photo of bus
PERRY QUAN / FLICKR

A coalition of groups that advocate for low-income Ohioans says they’re seeing a slight decrease in the poverty level and unemployment remains low. However, they’re concerned about pay disparity and the resources available for people who don’t make a living wage. 

The Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies says even if a person earns the median wage from six of the most common jobs in Ohio, they would still qualify for food assistance if they’re a family of three.

NASA’s Glenn Research Center is playing a key role in the mission to take astronauts back to the moon and on to Mars, Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a visit to Cleveland Monday.

“The moon is our proving ground for how do we live and work on another world, so that we can go to Mars,” Bridenstine said. “And the sooner we can prove that out on the moon, the sooner we can move on to Mars.”

RTA Considers A New Future For Its Bus System

Jun 10, 2019

Updated, 10:38 a.m., 6/10/19

The past few years have been tough for transit in Northeast Ohio. The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has cut routes and raised fares, all while ridership continues to fall.

Transit advocates call it the “death spiral.” Jarrett Walker, the consultant hired to help RTA redesign bus routes, said the service is “stretched incredibly thin.”

“It isn’t really able to be very satisfactory to much of anyone,” Walker said, “because it is simply being asked to do too many things with too small a budget.”

CAROLYN WILLIAMS / FLICKR/CREATIVE COMMONS

Ohio is outpacing the nation in creating jobs in the food and beverage manufacturing industry. A new report from Team NEO found the industry created 5,000 more jobs for Ohioans since the recession in 2007. Jacob Duritsky is vice president of research and strategy at Team NEO.

“So to have a sub-sector that is adding new jobs is very encouraging. In that growth of 5,000-plus new jobs was at around 28 percent. The U.S. over the same period of time grew about 12 percent,” Duritsky said.

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