Economy

Business news

photo of Chris Burnham
SUMMIT DFA / SUMMIT DFA

Summit County is considering an investment strategy that could boost economic development programs in the area.

Summit County usually has about $300 million on hand as revenue comes in that isn’t due to be paid out. It invests that to earn interest. But it wants to leverage more value from the money by putting a couple of million dollars of in a “loan reserve” for the Summit Development Finance Authority.

Rep. Kirk Schuring
Karen Kasler / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Talks are continuing on a bill to overhaul the fund set up to pay unemployment benefits to laid off workers. 

Republican Rep. Kirk Schuring of Canton says meetings between business and labor groups on shoring up the unemployment fund have been going on since January, and have been "harmonious. " He says they’ve hired an actuary to answer some key questions.

“The purpose of this exercise is to put a dollar amount on all the proposals,” Schuring says. 

C-130 prepares for takeoff
Tech Sgt Jim Brock / 910th Air Lift Wing website

The U.S. Air Force Reserve Command is turning down the offer of a free building at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport. 

Picture of a Cleveland RTA bus
KEVIN NIEDERMIER / WKSU

Ohio’s newly approved transportation budget includes a 33 percent boost in funding for public transit, but that’s not as much as the agencies could lose in the future.

The new budget increases the funding by $10 million, which is down from the $30 million boost that was originally proposed by the state Senate. The state is also losing the $34 million in Medicaid sales tax revenue that would go to public transit in 2019. And at the federal level, President Trump’s proposed budget would cut the Department of Transportation’s funding by 13 percent.

Picture of a Cleveland RTA bus
KEVIN NIEDERMIER / WKSU

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has sold naming rights for its W. 25th Street bus route in Cleveland.

MetroHealth will pay about $4 million over the next 25 years for the route, which ties together all of its campuses, including the main campus on W. 25th. RTA spokeswoman Linda Krecic says the funds will go toward new signs and new 40-foot, clean diesel buses this fall. The money will also go toward more efficiencies in the future.

photo of Cuyahoga Falls yarn bomb
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Cuyahoga Falls City Council will vote tonight on whether to proceed with the $10 million makeover of the city’s mostly empty pedestrian mall.

The plan to redevelop Front Street has been percolating for three years; Mayor Don Walters usually jokes that the street was closed to automobiles in 1978, and they began regretting the decision in 1979.

photo of Philip Cole
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A coalition of advocates for the poor have a new report on poverty in Ohio. They're using it to call on Congress to save multiple programs that would help low-income Ohioans.
 

KEVIN NIEDERMIER / WKSU

Representatives from education, manufacturing and economic development in Summit County gathered in Akron yesterday to discuss efforts to better train workers to fill local jobs.  The “Align” conference was an opportunity for the approximately 50 groups to strengthen the links between themselves.

photo of UBER's OTTO autonomous truck
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The trucking industry says there’s been a driver shortage for two decades – and that there could be 175,000 unfilled trucker jobs in the next seven years. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports a bipartisan group of lawmakers have proposed a package of bills that seeks to put the brakes on that.

KEVIN NIEDERMIER / WKSU

Ohio Sen.Sherrod Brown has rolled out an infrastructure rebuilding blueprint he and other senators call a guide for President Donald Trump.

On the bank of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Brown talked about the 10-year infrastructure plan which includes billions for roads, bridges, sewer and water systems and public housing and transportation.

photo of Kaptur letter
REP. MARCY KAPTUR

Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur has invited President Donald Trump to visit Lorain and help prevent the closure of some of the city's steel operations.

U.S. Steel plans to permanently close one of its tubular operations in June, after idling it in 2015. That part of the plant makes smaller pipes; Kaptur says there’s been less demand for those pipes with the downturn in the natural gas industry. She says Trump could start by placing a tariff on foreign steel.

Manufacturing
WIKIMEDIA / WIKIMEDIA

Economists say the increase of manufacturing jobs in February’s national jobs report is good news for Ohio. More than 28,000 manufacturing jobs were added nationally, according to the report.

stock photo of newspaper classifieds
FLICKR

Last year was a hard one in a category that nearly every politician talks about and nearly every election hinges on: the economy. And specifically, it was a tough year for job growth in Ohio.

photo of Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The state’s jobless rate was 5 percent for January, which is unchanged from December.

Jon Keeling with the Department of Job and Family Services says the number of Ohioans in the labor force and looking for work ticked up quite a bit last month.

“And usually when that happens, where that many more people are looking for work, that means the unemployment rate will usually go up. But since the rate stayed the same, that means a lot of those people that were looking for work got work.”

photo of shipping container
WKSU

The City of Youngstown could soon add a business incubator on its south side, made up entirely of shipping containers.

The project would convert the containers into small store fronts for entrepreneurs who may not be able to get financing to start a business, or who don’t have enough start-up capital to invest in a traditional building.

The city is studying the cost of the project as well as how to connect the containers to utilities.

WKSU

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown is encouraged that President Donald Trump is planning ways to bypass the World Trade Organization, which both believe is unfair to the U.S. They say the WTO almost always sides with other countries, especially China, in disputes involving dumping steel in the U.S.

WKSU

Hotels along the I-77 corridor between Akron and Canton have been feeling the downturn in the oil and gas industry. In the last few years, more than a dozen hotels opened in that area, mainly to serve that industry’s boom in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Now, there are too many rooms and not enough customers.

STR Global, a company that tracks the hotel industry, says between 2014 and last year, hotel occupancy in the Akron area dropped about 6 percent.  In Canton, the drop was about the same.

JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

Today’s entrepreneurs are developing new models for launching a business. There’s more emphasis on collaboration than ever before.  And a new group in Akron is working to bring together the elements entrepreneurs need to succeed.

In this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair looks at how Launch League is feeding Akron’s start-up ecosystem.

Old Packard plant
Tim Rudell / WKSU

Plans are proceeding for bringing a major industrial operation to the  century-old Packard Electric site in Warren.  It’s the idea of a former Warren-native now living in California who says it could create 800 to 1,000 local jobs.

Although he is a successful West Coast developer, Christopher Alan is still fond of his home town. That’s one reason he chose it as the site for all design and manufacturing for the automated parking systems company he owns.

First Energy Posts Loss to Restart Future

Feb 23, 2017
First Energy downtown Akron
Tim Rudell / WKSU

Akron-based First Energy lost $6-point-2-billion last year as it began taking steps to get out of the competitive energy business and back into being a regulated utility.  

Big financial hits came from the “writing-down”—recognizing on the books the lost value—of its failing power generation elements. CEO Chuck Jones told an investor conference call that the nuclear plants may even have to be scrapped. “Absent something to raise the value of these units and make them attractive to a buyer, there’s only one way for us to exit this business.”

photo of Jason Segedy
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

The plan to renovate Akron's City Center Hotel could lead to greater development in an area that’s slowly seeing people move downtown.

Cuyahoga Falls-based Testa Companies plans to invest $25 million in the building. The hotel had struggled for the past decade before closing last year. The proposed redevelopment would set aside six floors for a new hotel, and the rest for apartments.

Akron City Planner Jason Segedy says it’s one of several much-needed projects downtown, along with the Landmark Building and the United Building.

Cleveland Mayor Outlines 2017 Budget Proposal

Feb 21, 2017
Mayor Frank Jackson
RICK SENFTEN / WKSU

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has laid out his plans for hiring workers and expanding services using the millions of dollars raised by the income tax increase approved by voters last November.

The mayor’s 2017 budget proposes more than $40 million in new spending on city departments. It adds 65 police patrol positions as well as about a dozen higher-ups. Jackson also wants to hire additional building and housing inspectors.

Team NEO

The biomedical industry’s growth in Northeast Ohio continues to outpace other sectors in the region. 

The latest economic review by Team NEO shows bio-medical companies have grown by nearly 60 percent since 2000. The regional economic development organization’s Jacob Duritsky says total growth across all regional sectors during that period has only been about 10 percent.

He says Northeast Ohio now has 700 biomedical companies.

photo of Highland Square
VIVIAN GOODMAN / WKSU

A new report says parts of Akron are ripe for new housing, while other neighborhoods could be hot spots if they get some new investment.

The study from the Greater Ohio Policy Center is titled “Build In Akron,” and it looks at all 24 of the city’s neighborhoods with regard to boosting population and housing values.

photo of Cavs home court
ERIK DROST / FLICKR

A coalition of Cleveland faith groups is requesting a meeting with the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers about the proposed $140 million renovation of Quicken Loans Arena.

The Cavaliers are putting up half the money for renovations at The Q. Greater Cleveland Congregations has been vocal in its opposition to the plan to use public money for the other half. Now, they're requesting a meeting with Dan Gilbert to see if some funds can be sent back into Cleveland's neighborhoods.

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