Economy

Business news

JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

The four day Blockland Solutions Conference in Cleveland brought tech leaders from around the U.S. to meet with local entrepreneurs and investors to look for new ways to use blockchain technology in the local economy. 

As Blockland backers plan next steps, there are challenges they'll face in creating a regional tech hub. 

Charles Stack is CEO of Flashstarts, a tech-acclerator that’s putting $6 million in seed money into two dozen blockchain-based startups over the next year.

GM Lordstown plant
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

General Motors CEO will be meeting with Ohio congressional leaders to discuss the Lordstown plant closing.

GM is shutting down four U.S. and one Canadian plant by March, leaving 15,000 people without jobs – roughly 1,600 of those employees work at the Lordstown location.

Senator Sherrod Brown says he will push for GM to keep business in Youngstown.

CLEVELAND WHISKEY

A local business owner says tariffs on American-made goods like whiskey have stunted the growth of his company and thousands more nationwide.

After the Trump Administration placed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, European and Asian countries fought back with 25% tariffs on products such as motorcycles and bourbon. CEO of Cleveland Whiskey Tom Lix said his company’s overseas sales were booming before the tariffs, but this situation has halted the growth.

M.L. Schultze

Update: The bipartisan committee working to resolve the pension crisis announced Thursday afternoon it would continue to work beyond its Friday, Nov. 30, deadline. The committee has not reached a solution and a press release from Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, who both serve on the committee, said they need more time.

Huntington Bank Plans to Add New Jobs to Akron

Nov 28, 2018
FirstMerit headquarters
Tim Rudell / WKSU

Huntington Bank is planning to add more jobs in Akron. 

The bank announced this week that it’s creating 1,200 jobs. The bank is also keeping a regional headquarters building in the city.  Huntington acquired FirstMerit Bank in 2016. Last year, it closed 38 branches across the country, including four in Summit County. Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Sam DeShazior says this decision to add jobs follows the bank’s recent assessment of its staffing.  

Rob McColley
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Lawmakers are considering a dramatic change to the way Ohio issues licenses for people in certain professions and industries. Supporters say this measure would help clear out unnecessary licensing boards. 

The bill requires lawmakers to review all occupational licenses to decide if the regulations are too onerous or if the license is basically a permission slip to work in Ohio.

STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman says he hasn’t given up the fight to keep the GM plant in Lordstown open and its 1,500 workers employed.  

Portman says he knew the Lordstown-produced Chevy Cruze has not been selling well recently. But he says GM’s leaders have not provided him with many specifics about why they decided to close the plant rather than manufacturing another vehicle there. Still, Portman says he’s working with incoming Governor Mike DeWine and they are not giving up.

photo of John Kasich
TIM DUBRAVITZ / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Gov. John Kasich said he’ll be talking to General Motors about its decision to shut down the assembly plant in Lordstown, potentially putting 1,500 people out of work. He’s sounding like all isn’t lost even if the plant closes.

Kasich said he’s talked to GM about how the Lordstown-made Chevy Cruze wasn’t very profitable.

“I had a sense that there wasn’t this kind of a decision coming at this point,” he said.

But in the end, he said there isn’t much the state can do.

photo of calculator
SHUTTERSTOCK

Tax reforms in the state in recent years have resulted in some big tax breaks for small businesses owners. But a new study shows tens of thousands of them might also be taking advantage of tax breaks that were meant to help the state’s poorest residents. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports.

 

GM told the remaining workers at its sprawling plant in Lordstown Monday that it is going to shut down all U.S. production of the Chevy Cruze in March.

photo of bitcoin symbol
CREATIVE COMMONS

Ohio is now the first in the country to allow payments in the digital currency bitcoin from businesses paying 23 kinds of taxes – from commercial activity taxes to gas and cigarette taxes to sales taxes to employee withholding taxes. 

photo of Lordstown GM
WKSU

General Motors announced Monday it will cease production of the Chevy Cruze in early 2019 -- the only vehicle its Lordstown plant produces. 

In a press release, GM said it will cut 15 percent of its salaried workers and new products will be brought to fewer plants next year. Plants that will be "unallocated" in 2019 include Lordstown, as well as Detroit-Hamtramck in Michigan and Oshawa Assembly in Ontario, Canada.

tax form
FLICKR

A panel of six lawmakers charged with looking at some of the $9 billion in state tax breaks has recommended none of them be eliminated or cut back for now. Though nothing has changed, it seems few involved in the process are pleased.

Two years ago, every member of the Ohio legislature voted to create the Tax Review Expenditure Committee. It would look at all 129 loopholes, breaks and credits in the state tax code over the next eight years.

JEFF ST.CLAIR / WKSU

Ohio is the birthplace of air and space pioneers like the Wright brothers, Neil Armstrong and John Glenn.

But has the aerospace industry really taken off in the birthplace of aviation?

In this week’s Exploradio, WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair meets the new head of the Ohio Aerospace Institute who’s helping map out the state’s aviation future.

photo of Renard Turner, Mary Ellen Turner
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Two events in Akron over the weekend helped kick off the holiday shopping season by focusing on small businesses.

Small Business Saturday is a national event encouraging people to check out shops in their communities. In Akron, the day started with Northside Marketplace hosting Crafty Mart -- featuring local artisans with handmade goods – on one floor.

Campaign launch, Lordstown UAW 1112 Union Hall
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

An effort to keep GM Lordstown operating brought nearly 300 workers, local business leaders, and political figures to the Auto Workers union hall. They came to launch the “Drive it Home" campaign. 

“Drive it Home” refers to selling General Motors on continuing to build vehicles at Lordstown if the Chevy Cruz goes away in the face of a declining small car market.

JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Retailers throughout Ohio are gearing up for the holiday shopping season. The industry expects consumers will be buying more this year than last.

Gordon Gough with the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants says a University of Cincinnati study shows this holiday season should be happy for retailers in Ohio.

“Ohio will see a 3.2 percent increase in Ohio retail activity, a 3.2 percent increase over 2017 numbers.”

JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Many Pike County residents were relieved when authorities arrested six people in connection with the killing of eight members of the Rhoden family in 2016. But the question now is how local officials will be able to afford to prosecute those cases. A bill is being proposed to help in that case.

Republican Rep. Shane Wilkin of Lynchburg says the prosecution will be tough on Pike County’s budget. 

photo of Whitelaw Building
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

The Akron Civic Theatre is set to expand over the next year and add a second, smaller theater space.

The long-vacant Whitelaw Building sits next door to the Civic, and is going to be refurbished into a flexible theater space with about 200 seats. It’s part of an $8.5 million project that will also add outdoor parking to the Civic, and refurbish its grand lobby.

Kyle Kutuchief is the Knight Foundation’s project manager in Akron, and says the Civic is a key piece of downtown’s revitalization.

Amazon has announced it will open a new air gateway at Wilmington Air Park in Wilmington, Ohio. The announcement comes as the company continues to build out its air hub operation at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Jacob Duritsky
TeamNEO

Northeast Ohio manufacturing could increase dramatically over the next seven years if it embraces the Internet of Things, or IoT.

Industrial IoT is where computer devices are embedded in every step of manufacturing.

The advocacy group, Team NEO, has put together a roadmap for the region, detailing its strengths and weaknesses, with and without IoT.

Jacob Duritsky is the vice president of strategy and research for TeamNEO.

Oil & Gas drilling crew
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

There is a new leading player in the development of Ohio’s oil and natural gas drilling industry. ENCINO Energy just bought all of the Utica shale holdings of Chesapeake Energy and says it plans to invest in those, and to keep the former Chesapeake Utica headquarters in Louisville in Stark County. 

Unless you like standing in line at the bank, chances are when you need cash, you are going to visit an ATM. And with almost half a million ATMs in the United States—at banks, and bars, and convenience stores—you probably won’t have to look too far. While that ubiquity makes ATMs convenient, it also presents a challenge for firms like Diebold Nixdorf.

Roughly a third of the world’s 3.3 million ATMs were made by Diebold, according to estimates by the banking research firm RBR. Yet, despite Diebold’s dominance in the industry, the firm has been struggling in recent months.

ElevateAkron logo
ELEVATE AKRON

A group of Akron leaders revealed a new plan for economic development at a special Akron Roundtable event Monday. A panel of community leaders told the crowd that too many people have to leave Akron to get to work.

Their new initiative, Elevate Akron, will focus on increasing job opportunities locally and improving collaboration. A study they conducted shows that Akron’s economy is too traditional and needs to promote more entrepreneurship and innovation.

FLICKR/CC

Ohio’s official unemployment rate went unchanged from August to September, although workforce participation is at an all-time high. 

Five-point six million. That’s the numbers of Ohioans working non-farm jobs last month.

State labor officials say it represents Ohio’s largest workforce ever after employers added more than 4,000 jobs last month. The state’s official jobless rate is tied to a monthly survey of workers, which showed fewer collecting unemployment benefits last month.

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