Economy

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photo of Downtown Akron
SHANE WYNN / AKRONSTOCK

A new report lists Akron as one of the top 50 most innovative cities in America.

According to Go.Verizon.com, Akron is the 43rd most innovative metropolitan area in the US -- the only Ohio city to make the list.

The report ranks cities based on the number of patents produced in relation to its population. San Jose, California,  the home of Silicon Valley, ranks at the top of the list.

State Income Tax Revenue Drops in December

Jan 8, 2019
Money
SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

The final state tax revenue report of the Kasich administration showed a big drop in personal income tax collections last month. 

December’s personal income tax haul was down almost $47 million, nearly six percent below forecasts.

When all taxes are added in, including sales taxes and the commercial activity tax, total tax revenue was down only 2 percent. The total tax take is still in the black – up just over 1 percent.

The United Auto Workers labor union is suing General Motors over the use of temporary workers at a plant in Indiana, saying that laid-off members from Lordstown could do the jobs.

The UAW filed the suit this week in federal court in Youngstown. The suit accuses the company of violating a labor agreement that allows laid-off employees with seniority to seek to relocate to other GM facilities.

The complaint says the union agreed to GM’s hiring of temporary employees in Fort Wayne, Indiana, through August 2018 to help with the launch of a new pickup truck.

photo of prison
GTS / SHUTTERSTOCK

A quarter of  Ohio jobs are legally off limits for anyone with a criminal conviction, according to a new report from Policy Matters Ohio.

The report finds that as many as one in three Ohioans are barred from certain work due to state laws that restrict access to jobs, housing and civic rights for anyone with a conviction.

Michael Shields is the co-author of this report. He says these laws are too broad and end up hurting businesses as well.

Twenty-nine union employees at the Plain Dealer—mostly copy editors, page designers, and illustrators—will be laid off after March 2019, according to George Rodrigue, the paper’s Editor and President. The plan is to outsource most of those jobs to a New Yorked-based company called Advance Local, which is a subsidiary of the PD’s parent company, Advance Publications. 

WKSU

The consortium of 40 philanthropies in 18 counties of Northeast Ohio has announced a three year plan to expand the region’s economy.  

The Fund for Our Economic Future is putting up $10 million to make it work. 

Cities, counties, and states usually consider attracting any business a success.  But the Fund for Our Economic Future wants them to consider spreading the wealth.

A student's drawing of a car.
UAW LOCAL 1112

The announcement that General Motors will stop production at its Lordstown plant has caused anxiety for more than just its workers. Their children are concerned, too.

Team NEO Counties
Team NEO website

A new report shows that Northeast Ohio is on-track to have one-million job openings over the next five years – but the total employment picture will remain relatively flat.

photo of Dan Flowers
AKRON CANTON REGIONAL FOODBANK

The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is on-track to get about four million extra pounds of food next year – a result of President Trump’s trade war with China. The government has been buying surplus food from farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs, and then distributing it through food banks.

Dan Flowers, CEO of the Akron-Canton Foodbank, says the food they’re getting is of the highest quality. And he says he’s got his fingers-crossed that news of the extra food does not deter people from donating to the food bank.

Pro Football Hall of Fame
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

The NFL Draft is not coming to Northeast Ohio in 2019 or 2020. And any bids in the near future might pivot away from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

Northeast Ohio’s bid to host the draft put the first two days at Public Auditorium in Cleveland, and the last day at the Hall of Fame. But this week, Las Vegas got the nod for 2020, while Nashville was previously selected for next year.

photo of Levinson's Uniforms sign
LEVINSONS UNIFORMS

The State of Ohio’s latest round of historic tax credits includes a well-known building in Cuyahoga Falls.

The makeup of a new economic development planning group is raising questions about who’s getting invited to the table.  

The new group met for the first time Thursday in Cleveland while a dozen local activists from Cuyahoga County Progressives, Black Lives Matter and the Democratic Socialists rallied outside.

youngstown
Creative Commons

The city of Youngstown wants to improve its Central Business District with a $10.8 million dollar federal grant.

The Secretary of Transportation announced Tuesday that Youngstown is one of the 91 projects receiving a grant from the Department of Transportation through its new BUILD program.

photo of Mike DeWine
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

With just over a month before he takes office, Governor-elect Mike DeWine spoke to the leaders of the state’s 88 counties – who plan to pressure him for more funding in the upcoming budget process.

Analysis Finds Akron Office Space is in High Demand

Dec 10, 2018
Home of Akron Bounce
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

A new analysis finds that more employers are seeking Akron for office space. 

The Cleveland-based research firm JLL found the city’s office vacancy rate is expected to decrease in 2019. A report shows that vacancy is sitting at just over 16 percent compared to the nationwide rate of  11 percent.

JLL’s Research Head Andrew Batson says the city is building momentum and new city projects like the Bowery Development are helping increase demand.

He also says millennials are a factor.

This year, when the U.S. Treasury Department selected “opportunity zones”—those higher-poverty census tracts in which financiers will be able to claim tax breaks in exchange for investment—an unlikely Cleveland Heights neighborhood made the cut.

Other zones in Northeast Ohio are home to major employers, commercial districts, industrial land or hot real estate markets adjacent to lower-income neighborhoods.

GM Lordstown plant
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

GM’s plant in Lordstown, which is slated to cease production next year, could have a future with one of the automaker’s competitors.

photo of money
WKSU

There was less money coming in to the state last month from personal income taxes, but the budget department’s forecasts still appear to be on track to avoid cuts.

There’s a tradition at Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing Company. Each day around 4 o’clock, employees gather in the brewpub for a complimentary “shift beer.” It’s a chance to celebrate the fruits of their labor. Soon though, the employees at the 30-year-old company will be getting a new perk, probably worth a lot more than a free drink.

By the end of this year, it’ll be one of the latest companies to form an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, or ESOP. Basically, it goes like this: work at a company for a while and eventually own it. Or at least a nice chunk of it.

photo of Brigid Kelly
SHANE WALKER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Democratic lawmakers in the Ohio House who have been pushing for years to eliminate sales tax on feminine hygiene products were finally able to get it through – and nearly unanimously. It was part of a larger tax-related bill.

Rep. Brigid Kelly is among those fighting what is known as the “pink tax.” She said tampons and pads are medically necessary products for women. And she said they are expensive.

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.  

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