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City of Cleveland battles poverty, exodus

Like Toledo, city struggles to map revival

 

...And, in the city of Cleveland, 27 percent of people live below the poverty line, making the municipality the fourth poorest in the nation, according to a report last year from the U.S. Census Bureau.

 

But while many people in the city are struggling, downtown is seeing something of a revival, boosters say.

 

MORE ON BLADE SITE

 

http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080624/NEWS16/780038039

 

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Difficulties in Dayton feel familiar to Toledo

Vacancies top Ohio’s largest cities

 

By GARY T. PAKULSKI

BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

 

By December, office vacancies downtown skyrocketed to 28 percent, giving Dayton the largest concentration of empty offices among Ohio’s six largest cities, according to reports from commercial realty company CB Richard Ellis.

 

Dayton was the only big city in Ohio that exceeded Toledo’s downtown office vacancy rate of 22 percent at the end of 2007, according to CB Richard Ellis.

 

 

MORE ON BLADE SITE

 

http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080623/NEWS16/889432916

 

 

 

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Restoration in Akron draws mixed reviews

Empty offices fewest of big Ohio cities

 

...Mr. Lieberth's boss, Don Plusquellic, Akron's mayor for 21 years, has made downtown restoration a top goal. Over the last 15 years, government and private investors have pumped $1 billion into projects ranging from a new building for the art museum and main library to restoration of historic office buildings.

 

But along Main Street, the reviews are decidedly mixed.

 

 

MORE ON BLADE SITE

 

http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080624/BUSINESS06/806240302

 

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More residents, upgrades bolster Cincinnati's hopes

The economy has raised concerns about Cincinnati's rebound

 

...Seven years after a white police officer's shooting of a young black man sparked three days of rioting that put the brakes on downtown restoration efforts, momentum is building again.

 

Developers promise this summer to add another office tower - touted as downtown's tallest - to a skyline already crowded with names such as Procter & Gamble Co., Kroger Co., and Macy's Inc.

 

MORE ON BLADE STIE

 

http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080623/BUSINESS06/806230319

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I don't totally disagree with these studies, but the facts are just not easy to measure, the media in Cincinnati takes this to the extreme.  If one medium/large company moves out, the Enquirer runs its typical gloom and doom story about downtown losing 300 jobs.  What they NEVER report is that the space is usually backfilled with the same or more amount of workers from multiple companies, not as headline worthy, but both sides of the story nonetheless.

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All of these articles about the loss of jobs in Ohio's downtowns between 2000-2005 and yet no mention of what was happening with the national, state, or regional economies during that time?  It's as if the dot-com bust, 9/11, and the recession never happened- Ohio's downtowns just lost a bunch of jobs.  That's it.

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^Go to the Blade site and read the whole articles. They're HUGE. I just posted some key points. The Blade doesn't like whole articles to be posted on web forums.

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I don't totally disagree with these studies, but the facts are just not easy to measure, the media in Cincinnati takes this to the extreme.  If one medium/large company moves out, the Enquirer runs its typical gloom and doom story about downtown losing 300 jobs.  What they NEVER report is that the space is usually backfilled with the same or more amount of workers from multiple companies, not as headline worthy, but both sides of the story nonetheless.

 

This is about net loss, not gross loss. These facts are incredibly easy to measure unless you want to include illegal employment. I'm not sure how the Enquirer measures job losses, but these Blade articles used basic census statistics. Cincinnati lost many more jobs than it gained. Between 2000 and 2003 alone, there was a net loss of 11,000 workers. Those numbers are not taken out of thin air. There are over 11,000 fewer private sector workers in downtown Cincinnati today than there were in 2000. There's sadly no way to argue that. There have been serious job losses in Cincinnati, Toledo, and Columbus (around 10-15% in each city has been lost since 2000). The job losses have been completely devastating in Dayton and Youngstown. Losing 26% or 31% of your private sector workforce in just a couple years is astounding. Those two cities also lost a lot of rentable office space, but still managed to post incredible vacancy rates that rank amongst the worst in the nation. I don't think Dayton or Youngstown have ever seen such a fast decline in employment. To lose nearly a third of your downtown workers in less than a decade is nothing short of shocking.

 

Keep in mind vacancy rates can remain constant or even improve despite job losses, since former office space has been converted to housing. Vacancy rates have held pretty steady in Cincinnati and Toledo, and even improved in Akron, Cleveland, and Columbus. Dayton and Youngstown are the only cities that have really seen drastic increases in vacancies, and that's coupled with losing office space too.

 

I think the great irony in all this is that the one city that is rarely heard about, the one city that doesn't even have a media market to advertise/brag about downtown development, the one city that is almost always overlooked, is the one city that has seen growth in downtown employment, and is the one city that has a vacancy rate lower than the national average. Basically, go AKRON!!!

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^last census. 9/11 has nothing to do with the job losses in Ohio. They were leaving either way. They've been leaving our downtowns for decades straight. In a few places (especially Dayton and Youngstown), things have sadly accelerated since 2000. What's happened in Ohio's downtowns is one of the following:

 

1. layoffs, downsizing (mainly what's happened in Columbus)

2. suburban relocations

3. relocations entirely out of the metropolitan area, buyouts/mergers, or the company goes under

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This is about net loss, not gross loss. These facts are incredibly easy to measure unless you want to include illegal employment. I'm not sure how the Enquirer measures job losses, but these Blade articles used basic census statistics. Cincinnati lost many more jobs than it gained. Between 2000 and 2003 alone, there was a net loss of 11,000 workers. Those numbers are not taken out of thin air. There are over 11,000 fewer private sector workers in downtown Cincinnati today than there were in 2000. There's sadly no way to argue that.

 

I don't doubt our downtowns, state , nation etc. have not lost a lot of workers, I just doubt the accuracy of these studies and their numbers.

 

First, census statistics are gathered once every 10 years and extrapolated at other intervals.  As for their accuracy, how do you explain all the under counting in the residential side that most city leaders in Ohio have been challenging the last several years?  According to the DCI studies for downtown Cincinnati the total CBD employment has fluctuated and is slightly down for the last 10 years, but has been relative flat over that time period.  I would put more stock in their report than the Census Bureau's.

 

Second, a net loss of 11,000 workers at the industry average of 250 square feet per worker works out to 2.75 million square feet of empty office space.  This does not jibe with the office vacancy statistics over the long term time period.  Even given the conversion of a handful of old Class C office buildings to residential, this does not come close to 2.75 million s.f.  Furthermore, most of those Class C buildings were nowhere near full when they were converted, most were under or non performing, hence their conversion to an economically viable adaptive reuse.

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There was a discussion on this over at the Business and Economy thread link, which had some equally dismissive remarks about this article series.

 

I posted some graphs on downtown Dayton vis a vis Montgomery County based on County Business Patterns (an annual survey), basically confirming the Blade article on Dayton, and the discussion died.

 

 

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...and Youngstown are the only cities that have really seen drastic increases in vacancies, and that's coupled with losing office space too.

I can't speak for Dayton.  But, based on this quote:

Art Lewis, a real estate agent who specializes in commercial property, is not aware of an available office-vacancy report for Youngstown. He estimated that about 5 percent of newer space downtown is empty, compared with 15 percent for older buildings.

what makes you say that Youngstown has seen a drastic increase in vacancies?

 

Additionally, the article is based on a comparison of 2000 and 2005.  From 2005 to now is a rather long time for downtown Youngstown.  I think there has been an overall improvement from 2005 to now. (I have to admit that I can't back this up with stats)

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C-Dawg, unfortunately the hometown booster club crowds will never accept anything other than their own sugar-coated spin version of the truth about their cities.  Any study which doesn't align with their a priori thinking is attacked.  Any study that supports it, no matter how dubious (e.g., Social Compact) is lauded.

 

I thought the Toledo Blade series was great.  The data wasn't perfect and data never will be, but it was a great series of profiles of Ohio's downtown.  What's more, they actually reported a lot of the positive developments and momentum, especially in the 3C's, all of which are, while they have private sector job declines, re-positioning their downtowns as entertainment and residential hubs, often with quite a bit of success.  So the picture is not monolithically bad.

 

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^

The residential/entertainment mix is what's being tried in Dayton.

 

Twenty-five years ago, everybody would say, ‘It’s about jobs, jobs, jobs,’” said John Gower, director of planning and community development in Dayton. “Today, we say, ‘It’s about jobs, amenities, and housing.’”

 

..so he says, but the irony is that the housing/enterainment drive has stalled, and most recent sucess is in "jobs" (due to a new office building opening for an IT company).

 

 

 

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...and Youngstown are the only cities that have really seen drastic increases in vacancies, and that's coupled with losing office space too.

 

I don't think dontown Dayton has lost substantial amounts of office space in the recent past. 

 

The most recent demolitions were of an abandoned hotel and a small two story building that used to have WDAO radio, but might have been offices in the recent past.

 

Recent downtown conversions did include a conversion of a department store to offices, a hotel to apartments, and an old factory building to loft apartments.  No office-to-housing conversions that I know of.  As I posted above, the city would like to see that happen (for certain pre-war high rises, which are mostly or totally vacant) but I think the economics just aren't there to make it work.

 

 

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I thought the Toledo Blade series was great.  The data wasn't perfect and data never will be, but it was a great series of profiles of Ohio's downtown.  What's more, they actually reported a lot of the positive developments and momentum, especially in the 3C's, all of which are, while they have private sector job declines, re-positioning their downtowns as entertainment and residential hubs, often with quite a bit of success.  So the picture is not monolithically bad.

 

And the Blade made sure to aknowledge that the data is not always apples to apples (different measures of downtown improvement zones) and that it is not perfect. Still, the decline in employment has been apparent, and even the city boosters interviewed confirmed that everywhere. And I do think the articles did a very good job of covering the housing and entertainment increases.

 

Despite job losses, based on my visits and time spent in Ohio, I'd say the downtowns of Toledo, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland are all better now than they were ten years ago. The increase in living population goes a long way in improving downtowns.

 

I don't think dontown Dayton has lost substantial amounts of office space in the recent past.

 

Well, I think Dayton is down to just 5 million square feet of office space downtown. I know a lot of space has been lost since its peak. Historically, it was not too far off from downtown Toledo in terms of downtown office space. Toledo has lost a lot too, but it's still about 6 million or 6.5 million square feet of office space (if you include the Fiberglas Tower), and somehow its vacancy rate is lower than Dayton. Keep in mind I think Toledo's vacancy rate completely exludes the Fiberglas Tower, which is close to half a million square feet! If you included the Fiberglas Tower, Toledo's vacancy rate easily matches Dayton. The reason Fiberlgas Tower is excluded from Toledo's vacancy rate is because it's now being marketed as a residential and mixed use conversion. CB Ellis no longer includes it as part of the office market. Though it certainly could be brought up to modern standards and house a large corporation or a group of smaller corporations.

 

It's actually shocking that Toledo ranks as one of America's 50 largest office markets. With just 6 million square feet of office space downtown, and only 15 million square feet of office space total, the office market is greatly overshadowed by the warehouse and factory market. Toledo has 90 million square feet of rentable warehouse and factory space! It's a big ass industrial market, and a mid-sized office market. I'm not sure if the Glass City ever really was a big office market. The city has always been dominated by warehouses and factories, and I think even in the downtown area, warehouse space might exceed office space. This makes sense considering Toledo is one of the nation's largest transportation hubs. A lot of warehouse space is needed. The office market is nothing compared to that. I wish the Blade would have given a market analysis on Toledo's warehouse and factory market, since that's the city's bread and butter. A lot of nice brick warehouses have been converted into lofts, so I'd imagine the rentable warehouse market is shrinking. I've heard more space is needed again due to increased port and rail traffic. As far as the factory market in Toledo goes, I have no clue.

 

Dayton, while not as heavy on the warehousing side, certainly was heavy on the factory side. It was a major manufacturing center. I'd have to imagine factory space greatly exceeds office space there too (then again, I don't know how many factories are left in Dayton).

 

I don't think dontown Dayton has lost substantial amounts of office space in the recent past.

 

Has Dayton had anything happen like the Fiberglas Tower situation in Toledo? Meaning has a major office building gone off the office market?

 

As I posted above, the city would like to see that happen (for certain pre-war high rises, which are mostly or totally vacant) but I think the economics just aren't there to make it work.

 

It's quite possible some of those have been taken off the office market. If they're not currently marketable as office space, they're probably off the market. If they're too outdated, they're likely strictly looking at residential conversions. Completely abandoned buildings generally are not included in office market reports. Dayton, like Toledo, has a lot of abandoned buildings. I'm sure many are no longer included in office market reports, hence a shrinking office market.

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wow the Blade puts the PD to shame as far as negativity goes.

 

If you haven't read the whole articles on the Blade website, I recommend doing so. They really cover a lot of positives too. But yes, unfortunately, the loss of downtown workers is a big negative that can't be overlooked. It's not always companies leaving downtown. The articles mentioned there has been a lot of downsizing and layoffs in Ohio.

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Has Dayton had anything happen like the Fiberglas Tower situation in Toledo? Meaning has a major office building gone off the office market?

 

The equivilant situation is the Mead Tower, which lost its major tenant, but has not been converted..it is still on the market, and will be the new home of the local Keybank branch, which will be vacating a prewar high rise.

 

 

It's quite possible some of those have been taken off the office market. If they're not currently marketable a office space, they're probably off the market.

 

The three that would fit this discription are the Lindsey Building, the Commercial Building, and the low rise Arcade buildings on Ludlow and Fourth.  They have been vacant for years..the Lindsey Building since the 1970s.

 

Other pre-war high rises, like the Fideity Building and Center City Tower still have offices in them but also a lot of vacancy (and a good question if Center City is being actively marketed since it has been considered for residential conversion).

 

Another thing that comes to mind is the Reynolds and Reynolds corporate HQ and training center.  This set of buildings was taken over by the school board, so it would no longer count as office space as it went to a government function (though still "office", not on the market).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I thought the report, on Cincinnati, was pretty good.  There were a few items that I would chalk up to not having a full understanding of the issues (i.e. the closing of Gap).  Other than that I would tend to agree with their comparison of Cincinnati's downtown to other Ohio downtowns.  Cincy has built-in advantages and definitely feels like a bustling big city during the weekdays.

 

Things are improving on the weekend and at night, but we're not there yet.  We need more affordable residential that young people can move into (Fifth & Race, more OTR rehabs, etc).  Heck even ColDayMan was shocked at the amount of activity Downtown in a recent visit of his.  Cincy is doing its thing, but it will just take some time to get there (that's the Midwest for you).  The good thing is that all the boosterism you see/hear from Cincy forumers is there because there is a feeling that there is no doubt that Cincy will indeed reach that critical mass and become a 24-hour downtown.

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Heck, $97,000 for a condo in OTR is not affordable? Or $750 rents for a very large space (almost double of what I was having per SF in Lexington)?

 

I was shocked at the cheap prices in DT and OTR Cinci. And when I talked to Middle Earth and another (the one who manages the Emory and Gateway) about the prices in Lexington, their mouths dropped to the floor. "$375,000 for a one-bedroom condo!? $720 for a 400 SF efficency!?"

 

Of course, Lexington is currently suffering from a glut of unsold units in the downtown... and a lack of retail in some of the new developments.

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Heck even ColDayMan was shocked at the amount of activity Downtown in a recent visit of his.  Cincy is doing its thing, but it will just take some time to get there (that's the Midwest for you).

 

I've been shocked by Columbus, Toledo, and Cleveland lately too, but no city in this state seems to have reached "critical mass." We need more living population, and it's coming, just might be at a slower pace given the downturn in the condo market across the state and even the nation.

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C-Dawg, unfortunately the hometown booster club crowds will never accept anything other than their own sugar-coated spin version of the truth about their cities.  Any study which doesn't align with their a priori thinking is attacked.  Any study that supports it, no matter how dubious (e.g., Social Compact) is lauded.

 

I thought the Toledo Blade series was great.  The data wasn't perfect and data never will be, but it was a great series of profiles of Ohio's downtown.  What's more, they actually reported a lot of the positive developments and momentum, especially in the 3C's, all of which are, while they have private sector job declines, re-positioning their downtowns as entertainment and residential hubs, often with quite a bit of success.  So the picture is not monolithically bad.

 

I couldn't agree more!    This is a Great Thread Idea.

 

Ohio city's are trying to align themselves to compete in the 21st century with the rest of the world for that matter and I feel we are getting VERY little help from C-bus (Government).    The biggest benefactor that EVERYONE in the statehouse SHOULD recognize quickly is the fact that we NEED to invest heavily in transit within the state.    This has hindered new growth and reinvestment within ALL of our cores, even at the steps of the statehouse.    They need to get on this NOW and not in 5 years.    We need to beat other states (and countries for that matter) to the punch here and start building 21st Century Cities and quit with these Suburban Cluster$%^&s.

 

 

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There was an article in Time or Newsweek that listed the ten reasons why the price of oil going up is a good thing.  One of the obvious but related reasons was that people will start moving back to cities and stop sprawling everywhere.  Jobs often follow people (and vice versa) so while we may have lost 40k jobs in the last 8 years, there is plenty of room for hope!  The biggest problem is this adjustment period and how long it'll last (are we talking about a decade?  a generation?  multiple?)

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FULL ARTICLE AT: http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080727/BUSINESS09/322675054

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Article published July 27, 2008

 

Manufacturing losses exact rising toll in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan

5,300 jobs disappear over last 2 years

 

By TOM TROY and LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE

BLADE STAFF WRITERS

 

The pudding cups are gone.

 

So are the hot dogs, and bumper covers, and spark plugs.

 

Even the toilets in Tiffin have been flushed away.

 

Northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan have lost nearly 5,300 manufacturing jobs in less than two years, according to state and federal unemployment filings. And another 2,100 high-paying manufacturing jobs in the region are scheduled to disappear from the Toledo-area’s economic map in the next several months...

 

Contact Tom Troy at:tomtroy@theblade.comor 419-724-6058.

 

Link to map of job losses:http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/pdf/TO51488727.PDF

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Alright, it's time for its own thread, especially considering this metropolitan area is the hardest hit in Ohio (just like in the 1930's). We're right on track with 1929-1930 so far.

 

Toledo, Lucas County jobless figures rank among worst across Ohio

By JON CHAVEZ

BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Article published March 04, 2009

 

When it comes to finding work, job seekers in Toledo have it rougher than nearly every other locale in Ohio.

 

The jobless rate in January in Toledo increased to 14.3 percent, the highest level in nearly 18 years, and in Lucas County to 13.3 percent, the highest level in almost 26 years.

 

Toledo’s rate was higher than all but one of Ohio’s 20 largest cities, and Lucas County’s level was second highest among the state’s major urban counties.

 

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090304/BUSINESS07/903040299

 

 

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The majority of the state now has double-digit unemployment. Northwest Ohio is the hardest hit, which is no surprise due to the auto industry.

 

Ohio counties jobless rates

 

Adams, 15.7%

 

Allen, 11.2%

 

Ashland, 12.6%

 

Ashtabula, 13.4%

 

Athens, 8.0%

 

Auglaize, 9.3%

 

Belmont, 9.3%

 

Brown, 13.1%

 

Butler, 8.5%

 

Carroll, 12.8%

 

Champaign, 9.9%

 

Clark, 9.6%

 

Clermont, 9.2%

 

Clinton, 10.3%

 

Columbiana, 12.8%

 

Coshocton, 12.9%

 

Crawford, 15.0%

Cuyahoga, 7.6%

 

Darke, 10.8%

 

Defiance, 14.0%

 

Delaware, 6.1%

 

Erie, 14.1%

 

Fairfield, 7.9%

 

Fayette, 9.3%

 

Franklin, 7.2%

 

Fulton, 15.3%

 

Gallia, 8.7%

 

Geauga, 6.5%

 

Greene, 8.8%

 

Guernsey, 13.0%

 

Hamilton, 7.7%

 

Hancock, 9.9%

 

Hardin, 10.4%

 

Harrison, 11.2%

 

Henry, 15.0%

 

Highland, 12.7%

 

Hocking, 11.7%

 

Holmes, 7.6%

 

Huron, 18.3%

 

Jackson, 12.2%

 

Jefferson, 10.5%

 

Knox, 8.9%

 

Lake, 7.1%

 

Lawrence, 7.6%

 

Licking, 9.1%

 

Logan, 9.0%

 

Lorain, 8.9%

 

Lucas, 13.3%

 

Madison, 8.8%

 

Mahoning, 13.4%

 

Marion, 11.6%

 

Medina, 7.3%

 

Meigs, 14.9%

 

Mercer, 8.0%

 

Miami, 11.3%

 

Monroe, 13.2%

 

Montgomery, 11.2%

 

Morgan, 16.3%

 

Morrow, 12.1%

 

Muskingum, 12.6%

 

Noble, 13.6%

 

Ottawa, 17.0%

 

Paulding, 13.4%

 

Perry, 13.9%

 

Pickaway, 10.5%

 

Pike, 16.4%

 

Portage, 10.2%

 

Preble, 12.7%

 

Putnam, 11.9%

 

Richland, 12.9%

 

Ross, 13.8%

 

Sandusky, 13.2%

 

Scioto, 11.8%

 

Seneca, 12.4%

 

Shelby, 11.7%

 

Stark, 10.4%

 

Summit, 9.3%

 

Trumbull, 14.7%

 

Tuscarawas, 10.3%

 

Union, 7.6%

 

Van Wert, 13.7%

 

Vinton, 15.2%

 

Warren, 8.1%

 

Washington, 9.3%

 

Wayne, 8.8%

 

Williams, 15.4%

 

Wood, 11.6%

 

Wyandot, 13.9%

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Ohio cities jobless rate

 

Hamilton, 10.1%

 

Springfield, 9.7%

 

Cleveland, 9.4%

 

Cleveland Hts., 4.9%

 

Euclid, 8.0%

 

Lakewood, 6.5%

 

Parma, 8.2%

 

Columbus, 7.3%

 

Cincinnati , 8.0%

 

Mentor, 5.8%

 

Elyria, 9.0%

 

Lorain, 10.1%

 

Toledo, 14.3%

 

Youngstown, 14.4%

 

Dayton, 12.6%

 

Kettering, 9.3%

 

Mansfield, 12.3%

 

Canton, 11.2%

 

Akron, 10.0%

 

Cuyahoga Falls , 8.7%

 

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^new stats just came out in Ohio. The New York Times was using last month's information. Hamilton County is still extremely low at 7.7% unemployment. It's the second lowest of any urban county in the state.

 

The Blade stats are completely up-to-date.

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Lord, we need Fiat to absorb the debt. I fear Chrysler will be liquidated by the end of 2010. As a result, Toledo will be liquidated.

 

Article published March 21, 2009

Chrysler pulls back idea of Fiat liability for debt

 

DETROIT — A public tiff between Italian automaker Fiat SpA and Chrysler LLC apparently ended Friday when Chrysler rescinded a statement on its Web site that Fiat would be responsible for part of Chrysler's debt if the two companies join forces....

 

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090321/BUSINESS07/903200222/0/BUSINESS03

 

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Everybody read this to get an idea of how underestimated the "official" unemployment stats have become. We do not measure unemployment the same way our brethren in Europe and Canada do.

 

Article published March 22, 2009

Calculation of jobless rate for Toledo area masks scope of crisis

Area rate would soar with alternative count

By LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE

BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

 

William Erb III is unemployed. His wife and kids knows he's unemployed. His former employer knows he's unemployed. Even the scores of companies and temp agencies to which he's sent in the last 15 months know he's unemployed. In fact, everybody seems to count the 39-year-old East Toledoan as unemployed except the people who count the unemployed.

 

To them, Mr. Erb's exhaustion of unemployment benefits in July and his inability to find another job make Mr. Erb a "discouraged worker." And that means Mr. Erb, like thousands of others in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, isn't included in the government's official monthly unemployment rate. But if he and others who can't find jobs or are underemployed were counted, the latest jobless rate for Lucas County could be 24 percent and for Toledo 26 percent, instead of the 13.3 percent and 14.3 percent figures for January reported by state officials...

 

FULL ARTICLE

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090322/NEWS16/903220301/-1/NEWS

 

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Actually some good news in the Toledo market for once! The former Maumee Ford Stamping Plant was shut down in 2007 during the Ford restructuring (that auto industry has been laying off since 2005, it just sped up in 2008-2009). It was a very hard blow in a town of 15,000 people. At peak, over 1,200 people worked at the Ford plant, and about 700 or 800 lost their jobs all at once when it shuttered in fall 2007. Tax revenues plummeted followed by population loss, and now school layoffs. This deal is only going to put 30 or 50 people in Maumee back to work, but it's better than nothing.

 

For those who don't know, Maumee is a historic rivertown that's actually older than Toledo (it's a little higher elevation and sat above the swamp, thus easier to develop). It was the original county seat of Lucas County, and shared port status in the pre-Civil War era with its now rich twin brother, Perrysburg. It was a major stop on the Miami and Erie Canal, which connected Cincinnati to Toledo, and allowed for goods from Cincinnati to travel to the Maumee River and Lake Erie. Maumee was also a major stop on the Underground Railroad and many of those houses are still standing today. On top of all this, it's also the site of the Battle of Fallen Timbers (led to Treaty of Greenville), Turkey Foot Rock, and Dudley's Massacre. Basically, the town has a sh!tload of history and a beautiful geographic setting on a hill overlooking the mighty Maumee River. The town is surprisingly intact and stocked with beautiful Civil War era housing, but there has been steady population loss since 1970, and the 2000's have not been kind to the economy. Up until today, the only recent "development" of significant size was a sh!tty open-air mall outside of town sharing tax revenues with Monclova and Toledo (the county should have just pushed harder to redevelop Southwyck instead). Anyway, here's some good news for what it is probably Toledo's best suburb:

 

Article published April 08, 2009

Former Ford plant lands its 1st contract

Production scheduled for next week on exhaust part

By LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE

BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

 

The group trying to resurrect Ford Motor Co.'s former Maumee Stamping Plant into an employee-owned parts manufacturer has landed its first contract, just over a year after interviewing hundreds of potential employee-investors....

 

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090408/BUSINESS02/904080375

 

 

 

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/09/AR2009050900913.html

 

In Toledo, Downturn Empties Offices

White-Collar Workers Reeling as Layoffs Force Them to Remake Their Lives

 

By Peter Slevin

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, May 10, 2009

 

TOLEDO -- Rob Noonan's friends think he's a sucker. Laid off from his $140,000-a-year construction management job when the credit markets froze, he still shows up at work, one man working without pay in a cluster of vacant cubicles, trying to make something out of nothing.

 

While friends are mystified that he would toil for the developer who fired him after 16 years, Noonan figures voluntary work is his best path to a real job at real pay. And in an employment market this awful, he adds, "I really don't have anything better to do."

 

Article continues: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/09/AR2009050900913_pf.html.

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^great photos and audio clips on the website. Glad the national media is finally picking up on just how bad it is in Toledo. We've been doing stories like this for months wondering why all the focus has been on Detroit when Toledo/Northwest Ohio is just as bad and even worse in the case of the small towns in the area.

 

Larry B. Dillin, head of Dillin Corp. and Noonan's former boss, laid off 60 percent of his workforce of about two dozen in the Toledo suburb of Perrysburg. In a period that reminds him of the weeks after the 2001 terrorist attacks, he sees "a lot of people with a deer-in-the-headlights stare, people not knowing what normal is anymore."

 

Dillin is the guy who is supposed to develop the first phase of the Marina District. I doubt it happens anytime soon after laying off 60% of his workforce.

 

"A lot of ads will say, 'No phone calls, please' or 'Due to high volume, cannot respond to receipt of résumés.' "

 

This is absolutely the norm in Toledo. No one takes calls, but I don't blame them. They want your ass to come in to see how you present yourself and what you look like. You can get an interview on the spot if they like what they see. They can also dismiss you on the spot if they don't like what they see. When people with Master's and PHD's are waiting tables, they have the pick of the litter.

 

At last, he found a lifeline when a Jacksonville, Fla., credit card company saw his résumé on the Internet and hired him. As he prepared to move, he said: "I don't see how and when Toledo's going to come back. Me going to Florida, thank God, I do have a way out."

 

Yep, this is the answer right now. Toledo and Detroit could be ghost towns in the future. Chrysler and GM are never coming back and they were just too central a part of our economy. Chrysler's bankruptcy and GM's bankruptcy in a few days are the final nails in the coffin. Even though I'm very lucky to be working, I'm not making enough money. Eventually, I'll get out too barring some miracle of a full-time job and health insurance. I just don't see any recovery in the future.

 

Then again, Toledo hit 55% unemployment in the Great Depression, the worst of any big city in the history of the United States, and it managed to come back. The 40's, 50's, and 60's were boom decades in Toledo, fueled largely by glass, autos, and the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Toledo had one of the nation's highest standards of living all the way up until the late 1970's. So I guess anything is possible...

 

The reasons it recovered then (rail hub, shipping port, proximity to grain and coal, manufacturing infrastructure, etc.) could be reasons to recover again. I'd say no city has more in the way of infrastructure and location, but everything else that can go wrong has gone wrong.

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Oh man I hear you on that.  Looks it will be part time work for me for awhile in this region (though I've found some good full time leads out on the East and West coasts). 

 

I do disagree that these cities will shrink into ghost towns.  We really can't accurately predict a future for rust belt cities, and there will always be people living in the Toledo and Detroit regions.  It's just a matter of downtowns reshaping themselves as a center of commerce, and offering incentives for businesses (what are left) to concentrate there.

 

The growth models for Detroit 2045 don't show further decline of the city below 700,000 residents.  That's even after it is assumed the Automakers and their suppliers go completely out of business.  I believe it.  Take a town like Saginaw, MI where during the 70's they began to automate all the plants with robots, and began staffing some factories with cheaper labor.  The East Side of the city pretty much collapsed, but the West side continued along as if nothing ever happened.  People are starting to buy up these cheap homes on the East side, and moving back in.  Saginaw is struggling, but it's not in crisis.  This recession has no doubt had an impact in the number of workers downtown, but they'll rebound as the economy improves.

 

These next few decades are about to get really interesting in the field of planning.  Medium sized cities similar to Toledo are beginning to embrace this concept of reconcentrating populations to provide them better services and housing.  It's a reaction against "the ghost town" phenomenon where there is islanding of occupied housing amongst swaths of abandonment.

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I think the interesting angle is white-collar downward mobility.  $140K to nothing....though i think this guy is going to land on his feet eventually since he was doing a sort of managerial position which required some degree of technical expertise.

 

 

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Oh man I hear you on that. Looks it will be part time work for me for awhile in this region (though I've found some good full time leads out on the East and West coasts).

 

I do disagree that these cities will shrink into ghost towns. We really can't accurately predict a future for rust belt cities, and there will always be people living in the Toledo and Detroit regions. It's just a matter of downtowns reshaping themselves as a center of commerce, and offering incentives for businesses (what are left) to concentrate there.

 

The growth models for Detroit 2045 don't show further decline of the city below 700,000 residents. That's even after it is assumed the Automakers and their suppliers go completely out of business. I believe it. Take a town like Saginaw, MI where during the 70's they began to automate all the plants with robots, and began staffing some factories with cheaper labor. The East Side of the city pretty much collapsed, but the West side continued along as if nothing ever happened. People are starting to buy up these cheap homes on the East side, and moving back in. Saginaw is struggling, but it's not in crisis. This recession has no doubt had an impact in the number of workers downtown, but they'll rebound as the economy improves.

 

These next few decades are about to get really interesting in the field of planning. Medium sized cities similar to Toledo are beginning to embrace this concept of reconcentrating populations to provide them better services and housing. It's a reaction against "the ghost town" phenomenon where there is islanding of occupied housing amongst swaths of abandonment.

 

yeah, saginaw good example. you can also look at lorain/youngstown for smaller but still relevant models who were totally rocked in the early eighties. lorain has tried to diversify business and reinvent itself as more of a suburb. it was hit so badly i think at least maintaining a stagnant population is actually an indication of lo-rung success there, although there is plenty of abandonment. youngstown is of course famously and most interestingly dealing with it's post economic collapse and abandonment by physically reinventing the city itself.

 

i think toledo being larger already has enough economic diversity to ride this out. i doubt the population will change much there, it's pretty stable. still, as the local industry changes they too will need to take yet another unique approach to dealing with this crisis. just don't let it be too many low-paying service industry jobs and call centers-ugh!

 

 

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^Toledo is diversified, probably more diversified than Detroit. While Chrysler and GM are huge in the local economy, one can't count out the shipping industry, grain, agribusiness, rail, construction materials, glass/tableware, and of course healthcare/assisted living industry. The only industry that will likely permanently downsize is the auto industry. The glass companies and construction materials companies (Libbey, OC, etc.) will come back once the national economy comes back. Ditto with Manor Care. That company is big and headquartered downtown. It's the size of a Fortune 500 company, but since it's private, people don't hear much about them.

 

So yeah, Toledo only has one Fortune 500 left downtown, but it has two or three companies of Fortune 500 size downtown. Dana actually just left the city, but they're up the creek anyway since auto parts are going with the auto industry.

 

Still, people need to understand just how many thousands of people have been laid off in Toledo and are continuing to be laid off. Any recovery would probably take a decade just to recoup what has been lost in the last year alone (and Toledo's economy has been bad all through the 2000's). The labor market is shrinking fast. People are giving up and moving away.

 

There's only one possible silver bullet right now that could stop some of the bleeding- solar panels. The problem is since construction is so low nationwide, the demand is not very high. And one does have to wonder if all the manufacturing that is left in Toledo (glass, solar, etc.) will get outsourced eventually too. Maybe the solar companies will get big, and then outsource all the jobs to China. :|

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Toledo has the potential. It needs to follow the Grand Rapids, MI model...by making every attempt to be the anit-Detroit. With the new arena, they are well on their way.

 

Precisely.  Good leadership, innovative thinking, and investment in civic structures, museums, parks etc. are key to keeping people around.  You want people to try and stick around, even when the job market is rough.  I know some people who haven't found jobs yet and refuse to leave Grand Rapids no matter what, just because it's a nice place to live.

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Grand Rapids has an unemployment rate only one or two points lower than Toledo's. They're getting rocked too, probably due to all the retail headquartered up there.

 

I do agree though that Grand Rapids is overall in better shape (at least structurally) than the average mid-sized Midwestern city. Toledo modeled their arena development after them for good reason. In Toledo, planners and developers look at Grand Rapids as a model of urban redevelopment. I can't tell you how many times we've heard about Grand Rapids projects down here. It's kind of weird since we're much closer to Detroit and Ann Arbor. I'm fine with it though. I've seen what Grand Rapids has done with their downtown, and yeah, they're ahead of just about everyone.

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I actually think UT provides more value added to the city than the city or the university appreciates. Especially with the combo of UT and MCO, the city has a serious full-line university. There are a lot of bigger cities out there that can't claim that. It also looks like UT will be a winner in the Ohio's transformation of the higher system (BGSU on the other hand looks to be a loser).

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I actually think UT provides more value added to the city than the city or the university appreciates. Especially with the combo of UT and MCO, the city has a serious full-line university. There are a lot of bigger cities out there that can't claim that. It also looks like UT will be a winner in the Ohio's transformation of the higher system (BGSU on the other hand looks to be a loser).

 

i had a year-long bgsu internship at mco and it is a wonderful, wonderful teaching facility. top notch. it always seemed to be understood that it would merge with ut at some point. good that it finally did, tying into those resources probably saved it. yeah, no question ut/mco is big as well as somewhat underestimated in the mix of the toledo economy.

 

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There is a long and dirty history of why UT didn't get MCO originally. Someone may know it, I only have a vague recollection, but suffice to say that it was not a bright and shining moment in the history of Ohio Higher Ed.

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Here's a link with a brief history of the Medical College of Ohio, minus any scandal.

 

http://hsc.utoledo.edu/history/briefhistory.html

 

Anyway, I'm sitting in the computer lounge at UTMC (its new name). I'm graduating next week, and will be fleeing to the cleve afterward.  The university sucked me in and I stimulated Toledo's economy for a while.

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Here's a link with a brief history of the Medical College of Ohio, minus any scandal.

 

http://hsc.utoledo.edu/history/briefhistory.html

 

Anyway, I'm sitting in the computer lounge at UTMC (its new name). I'm graduating next week, and will be fleeing to the cleve afterward.  The university sucked me in and I stimulated Toledo's economy for a while.

 

.....and we will welcome you home with open arms you little lopsidedfuck!  Come to papa!

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Hard to believe, but this article sums it up. Detroit, Toledo, and Providence were the only cities outside California and Florida in the bottom ten.

 

Article published June 17, 2009

Study on effects of recession finds great pain in area

Metro Toledo performance ranks lowest in Ohio, 9th worst in U.S.

By GARY T. PAKULSKI

BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

 

A new study that attempts to measure how the recession is affecting America's 100 largest metro areas found a world of hurt in Toledo.

 

The metro area is the weakest performing big-city area in Ohio and the ninth worst overall, the nonprofit Brookings Institution said in a report released today...

 

..."The recession is having very diverse effects," said Howard Wial, a study co-author. "Some places like Toledo have been hit extremely hard. Others, like metro areas in Texas, have just been grazed a bit."...

 

Cities that did well tended to have economies tied to oil and gas exploration, military employment, education, and government...

 

...The only other Ohio city among the worst performers was Youngstown at No. 90, two notches above metro Toledo's 92nd ranking....

 

"The auto industry and its supply chain have been decimated," said the study's co-author, Mr. Wial. "Metro areas like Toledo that depend heavily on them have seen their economies decimated."...

 

FULL ARTICLE

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090617/BUSINESS07/906170332/0/FRONTPAGE

 

Best Economies

1. San Antonio

2. Oklahoma City

3. Austin

4. Houston

5. Dallas

6. McAllen, Texas

7. Little Rock

8. Baton Rouge

9. Tulsa

10. Omaha

 

Worst Economies

91. Providence, R.I.

92. Toledo

93. Stockton, Calif.

94. Fresno, Calif.

95. Modesto, Calif.

96. Jacksonville

97. Lakeland, Fla.

98. Tampa

99. Bradenton, Fla.

100. Detroit

 

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