Economy

Business news

Poverty disproportionally impacts Cuyahoga County’s people of color, according to a study released Monday.

The poll, commissioned by the Center for Community Solutions, targeted people with household incomes of $25,000 or less, which is near the federal poverty line.

“On nearly every economic measure, people of color fare worse than whites in Cuyahoga County,” the report detailing the poll’s results says.

photo of a hemp plant
JARED MURPHY / WESA

At AgraPharm LLC’s warehouse in Beaver County, the scent of cannabis is potent.

“What you're smelling today is about only a third of what it really smells like when we first harvest the crop,” said AgraPharm’s CEO Ed Santillan.

The hemp drying inside was harvested about two weeks ago. There are rows and rows of it, stalks as much as 8 feet long, hanging from orange plastic netting secured to the ceiling.

photo of Sandee Fegley, Shannan Jursa
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Residents in Portage County – some of whom who are still struggling to recover from the 2008 recession -- got free money advice over the weekend at the treasurer’s third annual Financial Wellness Fair.

Treasurer Brad Cromes says the fair is a way to help educate people about topics like student loan and credit card debt, especially as those combine with a weaker-than-expected economic recovery.

a photo of regional chamber logo at an expo
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

In an unexpected move, the board of the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce has decided to bring back its former CEO. And it won’t renew the contract of current Chamber President James Dignan, an Air Force veteran who took the helm in January, 2018.

New RTA Budget Holds Steady Amid Ridership Decline

Nov 12, 2019
photo of RTA train
RTA

RTA expects a 4 percent drop in revenue from passenger fares, in line with a continuing decline in ridership. But more than three quarters of the general budget comes from sales taxes, and that income is expected to grow slightly in the next few years.

RTA’s Joel Freilich says staff will draw on a bus system redesign study to suggest route changes next year that won’t cost more money.

“While any net service expansion would have to wait for increased funding, there will be some things that we can accomplish in 2020," said Freilich. 

a photo of Mario Andretti
MARK AREHART / WKSU

Racing legend Mario Andretti was on hand as Bridgestone America offered a sneak peek Monday of its new race tire production facility in Akron.

photo of Kmart Tallmadge
SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU

The closing of the last seven Kmarts in Ohio should serve as a sign to other retailers about what they need to do to stay competitive.

Lordstown UAW President Reacts to GM Plant Sale

Nov 8, 2019
Southwest end of the GM Lordstown facility
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

Former employees of the Lordstown GM plant may have new job opportunities as the facility changes hands.

UAW Local 1112 President Tim O’Hara says there’s been discussion to hire a few hundred union members for the new Lordstown Motors Corporation plant where an electric pickup truck will be built. They could also be paid similar wages to what GM offers.

He says the development will be good for the town, but it won’t help everyone. 1400 people had to relocate following GM’s decision to vacate the facility.

photo of Lordstown GM
WKSU

The electric truck maker that had expressed interest earlier this year in acquiring General Motors' unallocated auto assembly plant in Lordstown has announced that it has purchased the facility.

The man most closely linked to President Trump's push to make coal great again — and the head of the country's largest privately owned coal mining company — is now the latest to reckon with the industry's decline.

Updated: Nov. 7, 2019; 10:58 a.m.

Bloom Bakery shut its doors Wednesday after Towards Employment, the bakery’s non-profit owner, decided it could accomplish its mission without running the two Downtown storefronts near Cleveland State University and Public Square.

Bloom Bakery opened in 2016, offering paid internships, training and jobs to people who had trouble finding them, including those who have been incarcerated or on public assistance.

a concept photo of the building expansion
TC ARCHITECTS

One of Kent’s largest businesses is expanding its headquarters and expects to add as many as 200 support workers as it grows over the next decade. Davey Tree Expert Company said the expansion will begin next spring and double the size of its current headquarters building located at 1500 N. Mantua St.

photo of Abbe Turner
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

A new book profiles farmers in Ohio – specifically, dairy farmers who are women.

photo of Jon Husted
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Google broke ground on a new $600 million data center in central Ohio.

The new facility in New Albany was spurred, in part, by different local and state tax breaks. 

The new Google data center is expected to generate about 50 jobs within the next few years.

The tech giant received a 15-year, property tax abatement from New Albany and a 15-year sales tax exemption from the state that's estimated to be about a $43.5 million break.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said the benefits will far outweigh the tax breaks.

The wind is sharp while a yoga class does downward dog in Washington Park. The people working out are mostly white, although the neighborhood is nearly 90% black, according to census data.

Manufacturing
WIKIMEDIA / WIKIMEDIA

A report from the Commerce Department finds manufacturing’s share of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) has shrunk to its lowest level in 72 years. Manufacturing made up 11% of GDP in the second quarter. It hasn’t been that small since 1947 and rose to a quarter of the overall economy in the 1960s.   

But an industry advocacy organization says manufacturing remains a central driver of Ohio’s economy. Matthew Fieldman is the vice president of external affairs for the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) and says the sector is thriving here.   

a photo of several groups at tables
JEFF ST. CLAIR / WKSU

An initiative kicked off Tuesday in Cleveland to develop a new vision for the city’s future.

The Cleveland Rising Summit is a three day event that draws together a large group of citizens to brainstorm.

The process is led, in part, by Case Western Reserve University professor David Cooperrider, developer of a technique to facilitate innovation in businesses and community groups.

photo of smoke stacks
JAMES KELLEY / SHUTTERSTOCK

Murray Energy, one of the nation's largest producers of coal, has filed for bankruptcy. The Ohio-based coal mining company also announced that its high-profile CEO, Bob Murray, will be replaced.

Murray Energy, based in St. Clairsville, has filed for Chapter 11 in bankruptcy court and is looking to restructure under a different name, Murray NewCo. Under that new entity, Bob Murray will no longer be CEO or president but he will continue to hold the title of board chairman.

Cleveland skyline
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Small to mid-size businesses in Northeast Ohio will soon have access to expertise that can help them grow.

The London Stock Exchange Group’s Elite Initiative has chosen Cleveland for its first North American headquarters.

It’s not the company’s first foray into Ohio. They worked with the city of Athens and nine Southeast Ohio companies last year in their first U.S. venture.  

Deb Janik is senior vice president of Real Estate and Business Development at Greater Cleveland Partnership.

A proposal repealing Ohio's sales tax on tampons and other feminine hygiene products is headed to the governor.

Nick, a former GM employee, stands with fellow strikers in front of the main truck gate at the Lordstown GM assembly plant, Lordstown, Ohio. Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019.
CARTER ADAMS / WKSU

The contract agreement reached between the UAW and General Motors that may end the month-long strike does not include a new product for the shuttered Lordstown plant in Trumbull County.

The deal meets many demands that sent 49,000 workers to the picket line. Those include a better healthcare plan, gradual wage increases and a path for temporary workers to be hired on full time. 

However the agreement maintains the closure of three of four facilities GM shut down earlier this year, including the assembly facility in Lordstown where the Chevy Cruze was made. 

photo of graduation
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

More than half of Northeast Ohio graduates leave the area once they get their degrees. That’s according to research from Team NEO. But that number can be deceiving.

Fewer than 47 percent of graduates stay in the region. While that may seem like a low number, Team NEO’s research chief Jacob Duritsky says it’s comparable to other large metropolitan areas. The problem is in the actual population.

David Johnson, United Auto Workers Union member for 46 years, poses for a portrait with a UAW ON STRIKE picket sign outside of the General Motors Metal Fabrication Facility, where he has worked for the last six years. Parma, Ohio Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2019.
CARTER ADAMS / WKSU

United Auto Workers (UAW) at General Motors (GM) are expected to vote this weekend on a tentative deal negotiators have reached with the company. UAW workers who lost their jobs when GM Lordstown shut down in March had hoped the national agreement would include a future for their plant. Sen. Rob Portman said it’s disappointing that it doesn’t.

RTA Refocusing On Low- to Mid-Income Riders, New CEO Says

Oct 17, 2019

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) will refocus on serving lower-income riders first, while better integrating with other forms of transportation such as electric scooters and car-sharing services, according to India Birdsong, the agency's new CEO.

Birdsong outlined a rough agenda for the agency during a speech Oct. 17 at the city's annual sustainability summit. It was her first public address to Northeast Ohioans since taking office in September.

General Motors and the United Auto Workers have reached a tentative agreement to end the strike that began one month ago, the labor union announced Wednesday. The UAW GM National Council will vote on the deal Thursday.

When the national council reviews the deal's terms, it will also decide whether nearly 50,000 workers should remain on strike or whether they should go back to work before the full membership ratifies the agreement.

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