Economy

Business news

A photo of the Huntington Tower
SHANE WYNN / AKRONSTOCK

The head of the Downtown Akron Partnership is excited about future possibilities for Akron’s tallest building. Reports indicate Columbus-based Huntington Bank is going to sell what was originally known as First National Tower on South Main Street. Huntington offices in the 27-story building will be moved to other locations it has nearby.

While news of the sale surprised her, Downtown Akron Partnership CEO Suzie Graham said the building is well-suited for other uses. 

Plain Dealer Announces 12 Additional Newsroom Layoffs

Mar 16, 2019

Plain Dealer President and Editor George Rodrigue announced Friday the paper will reduce its newsroom staff by an additional 12 people within two weeks. The PD announced in December it would lay off 24 union members and five managers when a new centralized page production system takes effect in May.

In a statement, Rodrigue called both moves a “necessity.”

A photo of an unemployment office.
BURT LUM / FLICKR

Ohio’s jobless rate has ticked up slightly, after six months of unchanged numbers. But there are some concerns about other figures in the latest state unemployment report.

The last Chevy Cruze rolled off the assembly line at the GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio, Wednesday. Workers draped an American flag over the white, four-door sedan. Now, most of the more than 1,500 workers on the last remaining shift will be laid off.

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority supports thousands of jobs in Cuyahoga County, according to an economic impact analysis by Cleveland State University researchers.

Professor Iryna Lendel, who directs the university’s Center for Economic Development, presented the findings to RTA board members on Tuesday. This is one of several reports on RTA being prepared as part of the agency’s strategic planning process. 

It's down to the final days for the Chevy Cruze at the General Motors assembly plant in Lordstown.

"The last Cruze is scheduled to roll off the production line Wednesday, said Dave Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112. "The plant's going to go on official unallocated status as of Friday."

Despite little apparent progress getting a new product for Lordstown, Green remains hopeful that the union might be able to win a new lease of life for the plant during upcoming contract negotiations with the company.

A new study from the Fair Housing Center for Rights and Research finds landlords in Cuyahoga County discriminate against domestic violence survivors. 

The study tested for landlord discrimination by having either a domestic violence survivor or advocate inquire about a rental. They also used a control group to inquire with the same landlords.

It found discrimination in 36 percent of the responses.

photo of Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland shows that for the past half century, the wealth gap between white and black households has increased – and that’s due to several factors.

a rendering of the reception area in the Generator at Bounce
HAZEL TREE DESIGN STUDIO

Officials at Akron’s Bounce Innovation Hub opened the doors of the vast first floor this week for a sneak preview of what will be the facility’s public space.

“The Generator,” at 526 S. Main St., designed by Hazel Tree Design Studio of Akron, covers 30,000 square feet of space in the former B.F. Goodrich plant on South Main Street. It is expected to open in May.

Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted was in Cleveland Monday on the first leg of what he's calling his week-long "Statewide Workforce Tour." The goal is to highlight vocational training programs that provide pathways to well-paying jobs. 

Speaking with executives and students at Tech Elevator, a computer coding school in Cleveland, Husted asked what the state can do to support programs like it. One suggestion: stop requiring bachelor's degrees for state government jobs that focus on computer programming. Husted was receptive to the idea.

photo of Jodie Oates, Wendy Geonis
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Downtown Akron has a new independent book store as part of the growing Northside Cellar project.

a photo of gas pumps
ROSCHETZKY PHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK

Gov. Mike DeWine is proposing an 18-cent hike to the gas tax in order to avoid what he’s calling an impending crisis with Ohio’s roads and bridges. There’s a provision in DeWine’s plan that is drawing concerns from lawmakers.

DeWine’s plan would take Ohio’s gas tax from 28 cents a gallon to 46 cents a gallon. The Ohio Department of Transportation says that would generate $1.2 billion next year.

But the plan also calls for increasing the gas tax every year based on inflation.

photo of eBay Retail Revival group
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Organizers of the eBay-backed “Retail Revival” program closed their one-year mission Thursday with a look back at their successes – and what they learned – in Northeast Ohio.

A photo of Brandon Chrostowski with a Buchtel HS teacher and student
SARAH TAYLOR / WKSU

A criminal record often makes it difficult to find employment. But a Cleveland chef has found success employing former prison inmates. Brandon Chrostowski of Edwin’s Restaurant in Shaker Square told the Akron Roundtable Thursday it’s about giving people confidence and skill.

“The NFL has no problem hiring someone who’s been in prison because they have an elite skill that can make or save them money. In business it’s no different. Our grads have 55 jobs waiting to hire. They have an elite skill that can make or save someone money.”

photo of Downtown Akron
SHANE WYNN / AKRONSTOCK

A scorecard assessing Akron’s economic health finds things are looking up, with nearly full employment and other positive signs.

The Fund for Our Economic Future, a philanthropic collaboration of Northeast Ohio organizations, has been tracking data as it works to improve the region’s economy and encourage equitable access to opportunity.

Southwest end of the GM Lordstown facility
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

A coalition of Mahoning Valley advocates has been in Columbus, pushing for new investment in the soon-to-be-closed GM plant in Lordstown.  But they're still hoping General Motors might reconsider its shutdown plans.

The “Drive It Home” campaign consists of auto workers, business leaders, and local politicians. James Dignan with the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber said the location of Lordstown is its number one selling point, given that it is one day’s drive away from 60 percent of North America.

photo of Mark Belgya
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

The man who runs Smucker’s finances told a group of students at the University of Akron over the weekend that numbers are not just for balance sheets anymore. Data is driving a lot of decisions.

SHERRY YATES YOUNG / SHUTTERSTOCK

There are only four medical marijuana dispensaries open in Ohio at this point but in the last two weeks they’ve sold more than a half million dollars worth of product.

The latest figures from the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program show more than $502,000 in medical marijuana has been sold since dispensaries opened on January 16th.

More than 68 pounds of product has been distributed. The amounts and types of medical marijuana product available in the dispensaries are still limited at this point because processors have not ramped up their operations. 

GM CEO Responds to Mahoning Valley Students

Feb 5, 2019
A student's drawing of a car.
UAW LOCAL 1112

General Motors Chief Executive Officer has responded to correspondence from Mahoning Valley students about the company's plans to shut down its assembly plant in Lordstown. 

Students sent Mary Barra letters and drawings appealing for her to reconsider the plan to unallocate the Lordstown facility in March. G-M plans to end production of the Chevrolet Cruze, which is built there.

When U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer was growing up in Ashtabula, Ohio, in the 1950s, it was a thriving factory town with a busy port where freighters brought iron ore to be used in the steel mills of Pennsylvania.

Today, many of the biggest factories have long since left the region for low-wage places — taking a lot of jobs with them — and the port ships a fraction of the freight it once did.

A photo of a dog on a leash with Rescue Village marketing coordinator
RESCUE VILLAGE

Pet owners struggling to feed their animals have a new place where they can get help.

Geauga Humane Society's Rescue Village is now offering a pet food pantry. Marketing coordinator Leah Backo says it’s meant to provide temporary assistance to people in need-- like the government workers who endured the recent shutdown.

“If you love your pet we don’t want a financial struggle to break those bonds and take away from you being a great owner of your animal.”   

Goodyear CEO on the automotive industry and trade

Jan 23, 2019

Transportation, as we know it, is changing. There's ride-sharing, electric cars, and soon, driverless vehicles. One of the things they all have in common, however, are tires.

"Tires are some of the most important things that you have on your car for safety reasons," said Rich Kramer, the chairman and CEO of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.

photo of Jay Corrigan
JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

How do you measure the value of something that’s free?

It’s a challenge for economists who study the economic impact of the Internet revolution.

In this week’s Exploradio, we look  at research that puts a price on your network of virtual friends.

How much would someone need to pay you for you to stop using Facebook?

Karen Kasler

News that there’s no money for new road construction projects in the transportation budget coming next month has state lawmakers considering how to fix that. And one Republican leader isn’t ruling out a hike in the gas tax. 

ODOT’s construction budget has come from bonds taken out against the Ohio Turnpike, but that revenue stream is drying up, leaving ODOT with an estimated $700 million less than it had five years ago. So Senate President Larry Obhof says all options are on the table, including an increase in the 28-cent a gallon gas tax.

Keystone Tailored Manufacturing in Brooklyn is closing its doors effective March 11, laying off 150 employees.

The company makes suits and other clothing at the site of the former Hugo Boss factory. According to a filing with the state, layoffs of some mechanical, maintenance, retail and human resources staff will be staggered through the end of June.

In Lordstown, Vista Window Company, which makes replacement windows and doors, closed permanently on Monday.

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