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Dustin Dwyer · Midwest Memo: Abbott Posts Layoffs, Auto Industry Posts Openings And A Target For Cabrini-Green
January 26th, 2012
Layoffs at Abbott North-Chicago based Abbott Laboratories is laying off 700 workers in the U.S. and Canada. The Chicago Tribune reports 200 layoffs will be at the company’s campus in Lake County, Ill.
Don’t call it a comeback One analyst predicts the auto industry will add 15,000 jobs this year. But the Detroit Free Press reports that still won’t come anywhere close to replacing the jobs that were lost.
Job training, streamlined Ohio governor, John Kasich says this year, job training is “going to be, probably my seminal issue.” The Columbus Dispatch says streamlining Ohio’s current job training programs is at the top of the governor’s to-do list. Right now, Kasich says the state has 77 training programs across 13 agencies.
Radically local consumerism Residents in Chagrin Falls, Ohio decided to “occupy” their locally-owned hardware store over the weekend to help generate some business. USA Today says by 10 a.m., the store was jammed with a “cash mob.”
This is where we used to live It’s official, the former site of one of the country’s most violent and infamous public housing projects has been bought by Target. Crain’s Chicago Business reports Target bought the former Cabrini-Green property for $8.8 million.
Dustin Dwyer · Midwest Memo: Downtown Development In Indy, Wind Farming In Ohio And A Wrigley Icon Survives Bankruptcy
January 25th, 2012
But enough about speeches. Developers are planning an $85 million residential complex for downtown Indianapolis.
A state law in Michigan will force the city of Detroit to lower its income tax rate. That could cause an $8.5 million hole for a city already struggling to fix its budget.
In Champaign County, Ohio, which is northeast of Dayton, a $20 million wind farm project is inching forward, but residents still aren’t completely sold on the idea.
Finally, Wrigley Field is one of the most iconic venues in all of sports. One of its many charms is the nearby rooftop seating that overlooks the field. One of those buildings with that rooftop seating recently went into bankruptcy. It sold at auction for $4.8 million.
Betting on booze Yesterday, Ohio governor John Kasich announced a new plan to pay for the state’s economic development efforts. They will be paid for with booze. The state is turning over its liquor distribution business (in Ohio, wholesale liquor sales are handled by the state). In exchange, JobsOhio will pay the state $1.4 billion up front. JobsOhio is a private, non-profit group created last year to replace the Ohio Department of Development.
More Michigan kids in poverty The Michigan League for Human Services released its latest Data Book on child welfare. The news is not great. Nearly one in four MIchigan children live in poverty. Abuse cases are rising. The report is part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count. Kids Count keeps data on child welfare for all states.
Ride on Sales were up 12% last quarter at Milwaukee, Wisc.-based Harley Davidson. That helped fuel a profit of $105.7 million for the quarter.
The BLM and the MTP A group of business leaders in Michigan will unveil their latest turnaround plan for the state at 10 a.m. EST today. According to MiBiz.com, which will stream the event live, “Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM) will roll out its 2012 Michigan Turnaround Plan (MTP)” and the announcement will take place at Ford’s Research and Innovation Center (RIC). Apparently, a major step in Michigan’s turnaround is turning everything into an acronym.
January 23rd, 2012
Bettting on jobs The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is announcing plans for a new $245 million casino in downtown Lansing. The Lansing State Journal says the casino will create 2,200 jobs. The casino would need to be approved by the federal government and the city of Lansing. Casino backers will be hoping to avoid the kinds of delays that proposed casinos in Ohio have faced.
Locked out The New York Times finds that while union strikes have been on the decline, lockouts by management have been rising. One of the lockouts mentioned in the story is at the Cooper Tire & Rubber factory in Findlay, Ohio, where workers have been locked out since November.
More ways to draw tourists The new Greater Cleveland Aquarium opened over the weekend. The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn is getting a facelift. And, if you live in Chicago, the libraries will once again be open on Mondays!
January 19th, 2012
Flint Plan: Michael Brown, the emergency manager of Flint, Mich., unveiled his plan yesterday for reducing an $11.3 million deficit. Not surprisingly, one of his top priorities is to overhaul bargainingagreements with city unions, something an emergency manager is allowed to do under Public Act 4, passed last year by the Michigan Legislature. Brown also wants to reopen the city jail, which closed in 2008.
Wisconsin Candidates: Democrats are raising their hands for the opportunity to challenge Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who appears to face an almost certain recall election this fall. Former Dane County chief executive Kathleen Falk said the 1 million signatures submitted by opponents to Walker on Monday convinced her to run. State Senator Tim Cullen of Janesville also plans to enter the race.
Toyota Milestone: It may be hard for car buffs to believe, but Toyota’s plant in Princeton, Ind., will turn 14 years old this year. And this week, it built its 3 millionth vehicle. The factory, in southwest Indiana, makes the Sienna minivan, which was the best selling family van in the United States last year. It has 4,100 workers and an annual payroll of $288 million.
Rock Hall: Dead Heads, listen up: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland will celebrate the Grateful Dead this spring with an exhibit called The Long Strange Trip. It opens April 12, giving you plenty of time to launder your tie-dye t-shirts and get out your Jerry Garcia ties.
January 18th, 2012
Slowing down in the second year? Michigan Governor Rick Snyder delivers his State of the State address tonight. Rick Pluta of the Michigan Public Radio Network reports the governor’s speech won’t have as many new initiatives as the last one. Snyder’s first year in office was busy. As the Detroit Free Press put it: “He came, He saw, He got what he wanted.”
Ranking cities The Chicago Tribune has a write-up of a new study that tracks economic growth in cities worldwide. The report, from the Brookings Institution, ranks Chicago 139th out of 200 global cities that were studied. What the Tribune doesn’t mention is that Chicago was ranked lower than a number of other Midwestern cities. The Detroit Free Press takes a look at Detroit’s jump in the rankings from 192nd a few years ago, to 72nd today. But the highest ranking in the Midwest goes to Milwaukee, at 56th. And Indianapolis had the lowest ranking of all Midwest cities, at 183rd. But, really, it’s not great news for anyone in the U.S. The study’s authors say 90 percent of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the world were outside of North America and Western Europe.
Huzzawha? The Illinois Statehouse News reports on an economic paradox. Taxes have increased in the state, but so has the number of businesses and the number of jobs. But, the unemployment rate is also climbing. If that sounds confusing to you, you’re not the only one.
January 17th, 2012
Mixed bag of jobs news: In Toledo, a company that makes solar panels is laying off 40 workers. The Chicago Tribune is starting a round of newsroom buyouts. But, in Canton, Mich., a TV manufacturer plans to hire 100 workers. The Detroit Free Press says it will be the first time a company has built TVs in the U.S. since Sony closed its last plant here in 2010.
More tourism, fewer movies: The mixed news theme continues in Michigan with a pair of stories about the state’s effort to lure out-of state business. First, the Detroit Free Press reports that interest in the Michigan’s film tax incentives dropped after the state revamped the program last year. But, partner station Michigan Radio reports the state’s tourism ad campaign seems to be paying off. In 2010, out-of-state visitors spent more tourism dollars in Michigan than in-state residents. It was the first time that’s ever been recorded.
Fracking fallout: Officials in Mansfield, Ohio are threatening to block construction of two new waste wells in their city. The wells would store waste products from “fracking,” a controversial method of drilling for natural gas. The concern is these waste wells may have contributed to a series of small earthquakes near Youngstown, Ohio. Meanwhile, TV station WKBN reports a hearing on those earthquakes will be held today at Youngstown State University. WKBN will stream the hearing live on its website starting at 10 a.m. ET.
A truckload of signatures: Later today, a truck is expected to make a delivery to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. Democrats are loading the truck with 3,000 lbs. worth of documents, containing up to one million signatures to recall Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans. Walker’s office says the effort will cost taxpayers $9 million. Needless to say, this probably won’t be the last you hear of it.
Micki Maynard · Midwest Memo: African-American Spending Power, Rail Aftershock, New Cleveland Flights
December 16th, 2011
African-American Influence: The number of African-American households earning $75,000 or more grew by 64% between 2000 and 2009 — 12% faster than the overall population’s earning growth, a new survey by the Nielsen Co. shows, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. African-American women, particularly, are boosting their earning power. The percentage of black women who attended some college or earned a degree increased to 53%, compared with 44% for black men. Though the numbers are national, they signal a socioeconomic shift for cities with significant black populations, such as Chicago and Detroit, Crain’s said.
Detroit Light Rail Aftershock: Business leaders in Detroit are feeling the aftershock of the government’s abrupt decision this week to cancel a light rail project, the Detroit News said. The leaders say they were not consulted by the Transportation Department, which scrapped the $500 million project in favor of high-speed buses. Given the time and effort that city businesses and leaders committed to the project, they were owed a discussion before the announcement was made, the Detroit Downtown Development Partnership said in a letter released today.
New Cleveland Flights: Delta Air Lines is adding 10 new daily flights between Cleveland’s Hopkins International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York City. According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the flights begin July 11. The first will be at 6:45 a.m. and the last at 7 p.m. The Delta service joins five flights a day by American Airlines, and 12 a day by United Airlines, which assumed Continental Airlines’ hub in Cleveland when the airlines merged last year. Delta said its creation of a LaGuardia hub is the largest single airline expansion in New York in more than 40 years.
December 15th, 2011
Industrial Output: Production from the nation’s factories fell in November, dragged down by the automobile industry, the Federal Reserve said today. The 0.2 percent decline followed a rise in industry output during October. The Fed said the output of motor vehicles and parts fell 3.4 percent in November, while mining and utilities rose. The capacity utilization at American factories, which reflects how full they are running, fell to 77.8 percent in November. That is still up 2 percent from a year ago, but it is below the average for 1972 through 2010, the Fed said.
Donations Fall: Charities in the Detroit area are concerned at a drop in donations over the holidays, according to the Detroit News. The Salvation Army has raised only $3 million of its $8.2 million goal, with nine days left for bell ringers across the metropolitan area. Easter Seals, which holds five raffles a year, came up $50,000 short on its November raffle. It sold only 3,500 of the 5,000 tickets it aims to sell. One group that’s on track is the Gleaners Community Food of Southeastern Michigan, which is set to reach a quarterly goal of $5.2 million in donations.
School Protests: About 50 protestors in Chicago shut down a meeting of the Chicago Board of Education, upset over the city’s plans to close and consolidate schools. District officials want to close five under performing schools, gradually close two more and turn around 10 troubled schools. The protestors included parents, community activists, current and former teachers, and members of the Occupy Chicago movement. The meeting was abruptly adjourned after the protestors interrupted a presentation by schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard.
December 14th, 2011
Detroit Rail Plan Dies: An ambitious plan to build a light rail corridor in Detroit has died, the Detroit Free Press reports. Instead, the federal government is recommending that the city get high speed buses, which will run on dedicated routes from the suburbs to the city. The Transportation Department had awarded the city $25 million last year to get light rail rolling. But financial issues with the project, and the city’s own financial woes caused the government to change course, the paper said. The death of the plan ends a four-year lobbying effort to win a light rail system.
Chicago Companies Plan to Hire: About 15 percent of companies in the Chicago area expect to hire more employees in early 2012, and about two-thirds of companies expect to keep staffing levels the same, according to a survey by Manpower. A small number, about 12 percent, said they planned to eliminate positions in the first quarter. Job prospects appear best in manufacturing of non-durable goods, the wholesale and retail sector, financial activities, education and health care. Employers in construction, transportation and utilities expect to cut jobs.
Texting Ban Boost: The author of a legislative proposal to ban texting-while-driving in Ohio tells our partner station ideastream that her bill is getting a big boost from a recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board. The five member board has unanimously called for all states to ban not only texting-while-driving, but also talking on cellphones while driving, even when motorists use a hands-free device. State Rep. Nancy Garland’s proposed texting ban has passed the Ohio House of Representatives, but has hit a roadblock in a Senate committee