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The part that’s not so Super It’s Super Bowl weekend in Indianapolis. Cities that host the Super Bowl are usually hoping for a big economic boost. But there’s one kind of economic activity that Indiana officials are hoping to avoid: sex trafficking. Reporter Michael Puente from partner station WBEZ had a look at the city’s efforts last week.

Land for sale If you’re looking to buy some land, you might want to check in with Cleveland-based the Forest City real estate company. The company, which built its empire on land purchases, is now looking to unload more than 6,500 acres of land.

An art tax? The Detroit Institute of Arts has a world class reputation, but lately it hasn’t been making world class money. Institute leaders are exploring the option of a new regional tax to pay for operations.

The (not so much) money train Leaders in West Michigan have rounded up $4.6 billion in funds to improve regional rail lines. But that’s still $2.6 billion short of what they need for what they’re hoping to do.

On air NPR’s Talk of the Nation took on the future of American manufacturing jobs yesterday.


Photo by Bridget Bodnar/Michigan Radio

On Friday, President Obama shook hands with workers at a Chrysler auto plant in Toledo, Ohio, and told them they were “showing the world that American manufacturing and American industry is back.” Beyond the assembly plant, which makes the Jeep Wrangler, others weren’t so sure.

As the president spoke, the latest jobs numbers showed the nation’s unemployment rate crept upward to 9.1 percent while the economy added the fewest number of jobs in eight months. And the auto industry?

“People thought auto sales this year could be much stronger than they’re turning out to be,” Changing Gears senior editor Micki Maynard said during an appearance on “Here and Now” on Friday afternoon.

Chrysler repaid and restructured debt associated with the TARP bailout – a development Obama had come to Toledo to tout. But minimal job creation, a weak housing market and middling consumer confidence tempered the auto industry’s expectations.

Those factors, combined with high energy prices, are doing more than hampering the auto industry. They have broader implications. It “adds up to another possible mini-recession,” Maynard said.

Here’s the full segment from “Here and Now,” public radio’s daily news magazine.


It’s been more than a week since Japan was ravaged by the first of a series of earthquakes as well as a tsunami. The harm from those natural disasters is still unfolding, as the world watches what happens to several damaged nuclear reactors in Japan. But in the Midwest, companies are trying to figure out what the events in the island nation will mean for businesses here.

Caterpillar headquarters, Peoria Journal-Star

Changing Gears reporter Niala Boodhoo filed a report for NPR’s Morning Edition looking at Japan’s economic ties to the Midwest. There are about 160,000 people in the Great Lakes region working for Japanese businesses, from Caterpillar Inc, which employs more than 5,000 people in southern Japan and Tokyo, to smaller companies like ITA, which counts 18 people on its payroll.

You can listen to Niala’s NPR story here.

 

Did you hear about Changing Gears on NPR’s Talk of the Nation? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome!
Talk of the Nation host Neil Conan at WCPN

We went on the air in September, and our mission is to report on the reinvention of the industrial Midwest.

Take a listen to our stories on manufacturing, like Niala Boodhoo’s recent report on brownfield sites in Chicago; retraining, like Kate Davidson’s story on former auto worker Joseph Arducan’s efforts to find a new career, and jobs, including the dilemma faced by high school students in Sandusky, Ohio, which was explored by our Cleveland Reporter, Dan Bobkoff.

We also have some fun features for you, like Reinvention Recipes — chefs and food purveyors doing their own part to support the Midwest.

Tell us what you think. Tell us what we should be covering. Please join our conversation and post a comment.