Economy

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Editor's note: The role of Rev1 Ventures has been clarified in this story.

A new partnership could boost Ohio’s food and agriculture industry.

The J.M. Smucker Company is collaborating with Rev1 Ventures, a Columbus-based start-up accelerator and venture-capital fund, to seek out and promote emerging technologies in the food industry.

Ray Leach
Jeff St. Clair / WKSU

Cleveland’s JumpStart hosted its fourth annual StartUp ScaleUp conference today to celebrate the region’s entrepreneurs.

The day-long event featured panels and interactive activities facilitating entrepreneurial growth, funding and finding talent. 

photo of TJX HomeGoods warehouse
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Lordstown’s employment picture could be changing in the next several years, as two large employers in the village face shifting futures.

photo of Lordstown GM
WKSU

GM’s Lordstown plant is down to one shift starting tomorrow, as the plant faces a downturn in demand for the once-best-selling Chevy Cruze

Lordstown lost its third shift last year, and earlier this year, GM said it was cutting about 1,200 workers on the second shift.

Lordstown Village Hall
Village of Lordstown web site

Lordstown Village Council voted Thursday to rezone several hundred acres of property from residential to commercial so a TJX Home Goods distribution center can be built there.  But that decision may be on hold pending a voter referendum. 

Opponents of the 1.2-million square foot complex say they’re circulating petitions to force the zoning issue to a vote.  That could have delayed a yes or no on Home Goods use of the site until November, perhaps making them go elsewhere.

A long-awaited decision on whether northeast Ohio will be home to an anti-ballistic-missile site protecting the eastern United States may come in July. That’s the word from a delegation of local advocates who were in Washington this week to lobby for the $4.5 billion installation.  

Camp Ravenna in Portage and Trumbull counties is one of three locations in the running for the missile site if it’s built. Decisions on whether to build it, and then where, have been on hold in Washington.

Back of a horse buggy
Max Pixel / Creative Commons

Holmes County, the heart of Amish Country, consistently continues to have one of  lowest unemployment rates in the state. Entrepreneurship Intern Emma Keating reports on what sets the county apart.

Holmes County’s unemployment rate in May was 2.9 percent, the second lowest in the state -- lower than neighboring counties and the state average of 4.3 percent.

Photo of Huffman proposing changes
KAREN KASLER / OHIO PUBLIC RADIO

Some major proposed changes are coming to a bill that passed the Ohio House overwhelmingly earlier this month cracking down on the payday lending industry. Borrowers here pay an average of 591 percent annual interest, the highest in the nation. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports while one Republican senator is hoping for a compromise, supporters of Houses-passed crackdown are furious.

photo of Gov. John Kasich
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

May’s 20,000 new private sector jobs in Ohio mean the state is outpacing the nation in job growth rate so far this year, though the state had no measurable job growth in all of last year. But Gov. John Kasich warns that the latest trend will be short-lived if leaders rework JobsOhio.

Design drawing of Shell cracker in western PA
Shell Chemcial website

Editor's note: The name of the industry group was incorrect in the earlier version of this story.

Tens of billions of dollars in investment could be coming to northeast Ohio and the surrounding region in the next five years in the polymer, plastics and paint industries

Shareholders of Northeast Ohio manufacturer A. Schulman are set to vote on a merger with LyondellBasell  tomorrow.

LyondellBasell is the world’s seventh largest manufacturer of chemicals. Schulman, based in Fairlawn, makes plastics and resins. The two industries are looking to reduce cost and take advantage of a broader market.

Kent State professor Asli Arikan says this could mean a loss of local jobs.

photo of Jon Pinney
CITY CLUB OF CLEVELAND / YOUTUBE

The man who helped bring the 2016 RNC to Cleveland is calling for new leaders to fix the city’s lagging economy. Jon Pinney, managing partner at the law firm of Kohrman, Jackson & Krantz, spoke at the City Club of Cleveland on Friday.

photo of Department of Taxation
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

For the second month in a row, the state has brought in more personal income tax revenue than it budgeted for, meaning its surplus is growing.

The state’s personal income tax haul for May was up nearly 16 percent from estimates. Two months of double-digit percentage increases brings the total income tax take for the fiscal year to more than 5 percent over what was budgeted. 

photo of Hard Rock Rocksino
GOOGLE EARTH

A new report from the American Gaming Association finds that Ohio’s casino and racino industry is providing economic benefits and jobs to the state. Ohio’s 11 commercial gambling sites support 20,000 jobs and generate $3.6 billion in economic impact, according to the research.

Association Vice President for Strategic Communications Casey Clark says the group picked Ohio to study because of: 

Cleveland skyline
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Ohio is increasingly viewed as a business friendly state, according to the latest survey by Chief Executive Magazine. The improved rankings may be a sign that Ohio has finally shed its rust-belt reputation. 

This year’s survey of CEOs across the country ranks Ohio’s business climate in the top 10 for the second time since 2016.

Business leaders gave the Buckeye State above average marks in the three categories of taxation and regulation, workforce quality, and favorable living environment.

Shell Chemical's Cracker Posts Job Openings

May 28, 2018
proposed Shell cracker plant
Shell Cemical website

As the multi-year, multi-billion-dollar Shell Cracker plant construction project moves forward between Pittsburgh and East Liverpool, ads have now been posted for the first permanent jobs at the facility. 

Just 40 jobs are being filled initially, but 600 are expected. Mike Chadsey of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association says it’s a turning point in the whole region.

Akron Company Rethinks Telemarketing

May 28, 2018
Man holding cell phone
Creative Commons

An Akron company is trying to change the way call centers interact with the public.

Aaron Christopher Evans is the founder of Drips. The company uses texting to reduce the number of telemarketing calls made by its clients.

Once a call goes unanswered, Drips will send a text to the customer explaining what the call was about and setting up a time to call again. If the customer doesn’t respond, Drips will text again the next day.

Evans believes repeated unwanted calls can be a real nuisance.

photo of Lordstown GM
WKSU

The new president of Lordstown’s United Auto Workers union is facing the elimination of another shift and making a vehicle that the company says customers are shifting away from.

David Green was sworn in yesterday as the new president of Local 1112, which represents assembly workers at GM’s Lordstown plant. The union also now includes fabrication plant workers – previously Local 1714 – of which Green was the president from 2007 until 2013.

photo of help wanted sign
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio’s unemployment rate has dropped again, to a level not seen in 16 years.

The state’s jobless rate for April dropped to 4.3 percent, which is the lowest level since July 2001, when it was a tenth of a point lower. That edges the state closer to the national employment rate of 3.9 percent.

Northeast Ohio economist George Zeller says the latest numbers show more job growth in Ohio in the first four months of this year than in all of 2017, which was the weakest job growth year since the Great Recession.

Union Metal streetlights
UNION METAL

Canton’s Union Metal will reopen with a new owner after its acquisition by a New York-based investment firm. 

In December, the parent company announced it would shut down operations, leading to the layoffs of more than 300 workers.

The small village of West Jefferson will soon be home to Seattle-based tech giant Amazon’s sixth Ohio distribution center. Preparations are already underway on the massive "fulfillment center" building, slated for Route 40 between Springfield and Columbus. 

Amazon’s new, more than 850,000-square-foot, $175 million facility has been in the works for just a few months, West Jefferson officials say, and the project is moving at an accelerated pace.

photo of CAK
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Drivers for Uber and Lyft are going to have to buy a $400 license to wait for fares at Akron-Canton Airport.

The new permits, which go into effect in a week, are the same price as the ones purchased by cab and limo companies who want to wait for fares on airport property. Airport spokeswoman Lisa Dalpiaz says she hopes rideshare companies will decide to cover some of the costs once they start to get feedback from their drivers.

Photo of Sherrod Brown at the Press Club
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU public radio

A rare House and Senate committee is expected to hold its third hearing Thursday to try to figure how to save pensions for 1 and a half million people. The Ohio Democrat who pushed for the bipartisan committee says even more is at stake.

A vIew of downtown Akron from Knight Center
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

A new report shows that among the most common jobs in Akron, few pay enough to eliminate the need for government assistance.

The survey from Policy Matters Ohio shows the top ten includes cashiers, retail salespeople and restaurant workers. And the median salaries for those jobs in Akron are not enough to push a family of three over the threshold for food assistance, which is a little more than $26,000.

A Look Into the Entrepreneurial Mindset

May 7, 2018
Kellie Nock / WKSU

What does it take to launch a business? As it turns out, more than just money, time and talent. It takes the right personality. In this week’s Exploradio, entrepreneurship intern Kellie Nock takes a look at the entrepreneurial mindset. 

It takes a lot to be an entrepreneur these days. So, what is the recipe for a successful startup?

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