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Valley's jobless put picture on grim statistics

Published: Wed, March 4, 2009 @ 12:01 a.m.

The area’s unemployment rates have just about doubled since fall.



  Looking For Work

Unemployed Boardman, OH residents Cheryl and David Bishop look for jobs.

Unemployed Boardman, OH residents Cheryl and David Bishop look for jobs.

David and Cheryl Bishop don’t need statistics to know that this is the worst local job market since the steel mill closings of the early 1980s.

The Boardman couple lives it every day.

Each of them has impressive management credentials but has been looking unsuccessfully for a job for months.

“It’s very difficult. There are so many people looking for positions,” said Cheryl Bishop, who will lose her job Sunday as operations manager of the Circuit City in Ross Park, Pa.

State officials said Tuesday that area unemployment rates in January soared to their highest levels in 26 years.

Trumbull County, which is being rocked by 2,800 layoffs at General Motors, posted a jobless rate of 14.7 percent. Mahoning and Columbiana counties weren’t far behind at 13.4 and 12.8 percent, respectively.

Warren’s jobless rate was 15.5 percent in January, and Youngstown’s was 14.4 percent.

Jobless rates for the three counties ran about 7 percent for most of last year, increased some in December and then exploded in January.

“Obviously, we haven’t reached the bottom yet,” said Bert Cene, director of the Mahoning Columbiana Training Association.

He noted the jobless rates are approaching the grim days of the early 1980s when the region’s jobless rate peaked at 21.7 percent.

The ripple of layoffs has spread throughout the local economy following the cutbacks at GM. Area auto suppliers have laid off more than 500 people as Lordstown and other auto plants scale back production.

The slowdown has spread far beyond auto, however. A variety of steel fabricators, aluminum extruders and other processors have trimmed staff as demand for industrial and consumer goods has fallen.

Severstal Warren, which used to be known as WCI Steel, has indefinitely shut down its steel mill and has about 800 workers laid off.

“It is across all sectors. It’s a snowball effect at this point,” Cene said.

Cheryl Bishop, 43, is one of those hurt as the recession tumbled over into the retail sector. Her employer, Circuit City, is closing all of its stores as consumers pull back on spending.

Bishop has been with the chain for 21 years, mostly in store management and as a regional trainer. On Tuesday, she and her husband were at Mahoning County One-Stop, 141 Boardman-Canfield Road, talking about services the state offers and trolling for jobs online.

“I never thought I’d be in this position. At least, I hoped that I wouldn’t be. It’s uncomfortable, but I’ll make the best of it,” she said.

David Bishop, 50, figures that the couple and their two children probably will have to move to find work.

He had stopped working when his wife was traveling as a regional trainer but started making other plans last year when Circuit City ran into financial trouble. Six months ago, he was ready to take a position as a maintenance supervisor but the position was pulled at the last minute because of a hiring freeze.

“It’s a little scary, but I tend to be more of an optimist,” said Bishop, who also has worked as a store manager.

David Fleischer, 39, of Youngstown is adopting the same attitude even though he lost two jobs in 2008.

“My grandpa used to say that when you have nothing else to lose, there is only one way to go — up,” he said.

Fleischer was laid off by a Boardman window-maker in January 2008 but in July landed a temporary job at Comprehensive Logistics in Austintown, a GM supplier. In November, he was hired as a full-time forklift operator, making $9.50 an hour plus benefits.

He lost his job in December because of the slowdown in production at the Lordstown car plant.

Bill Turner, administrator of the Trumbull County One-Stop, said many of the area jobless are brushing up their computer skills, cleaning up their resume and working on their interview skills.

“They are working on their soft skills for the jobs we hope will be there — someday,” he said.

In the meantime, many adults will be taking fast food, retail and other jobs that normally are taken by teenagers and college students in the summer, he said. That means many high school and college students could be left without work, he said.



1henryviii1509(274 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

allstar, we're not allowed to use our natural resource, water. I have always thought we should be bottling it and marketing around the world.

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2Grog(13 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

It is a desirable place to live, if you have a job.

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3Westsider(269 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

The main problem with Northeast Ohio is that there is a preponderance of people who have been in high paying jobs - with no advanced education. Many of the people who are looking for work do not possess college degrees - not even associate degrees. Some people barely got through high school.(I don't pretend to know the Bishop's level of education). I also know plenty of people with college degrees who are still looking for work.

I will say that in other areas of Ohio - where there have been more creative economic development efforts (Columbus comes to mind) that there are still a lot of jobs. Unfortunately, a default requirement for many of the positions is a college degree. If you look at the state's job website - ohiomeansjobs.com - you will see what I mean.

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4ismellmyhand(26 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

This is so sad. I tried to warn you all my friends that supporting Obama will cause all capital and entrepreneurs to go on strike. How do you like Obama now you fools? This being said.... you are being screwed by Democrats who want to use and harvest you. No poor jobless person gets redeemed by democrats. You ve been sold out and lied too. And now... even the rich business people are being discouraged from helping you thanks to the leader you voted for.

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5ismellmyhand(26 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

You/ve been herded into a pen. In exchange for food and a section 8 voucher you will vote Democrat and sell them your soul and brain. Im so sorry Youngstown. I loved you once.

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6apollo(1227 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Won't be long the hand smeller will be blaming Obama and we Dems for the miserable economy Bush and the Republicans created. 30 years of overspending and running up massive debt. Thank you Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II.

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7YtownDad(4 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago


Your first post is laughable. Your second post is disgustingly offensive. Obama has been in office less than 2 months, yet the valley has been in a sharp decline for more than 2 decades, during which 3 of the 4 presidents were republican. He hasn't even had time to screw up northeast Ohio.

Your comment about section 8 vouchers is simply asinine. I have no need of government assistance or vouchers. One gentleman I know who IS on public assistance voted for Bush in the 2004 election because of the stimulus checks. Your comment reeks of condescension toward anyone who is below your tax bracket. I would love to know how you feel those people would be better served by a man who owns more than 7 houses and 13 cars?

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8scrooge(563 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

In 6 weeks in office Obama has already proposed more spending than the combined total of our country's founding thru 1/20/09. If that doesn't speak volumes then you obviously have your head in the sand.

I've always said there should be a test to become a parent and to be able to vote!
Idiots need not apply!!

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9HundredReasons(31 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Yo. is pleasantly isolated from the good and the bad of traditional market economics. Being tied to two major industries that are struggling keeps the good times from reaching here as quickly and keeps the bad times hand-cuffed in place.

The people here are strong, family- and church-oriented and always looking out for their neighbors. Those qualities outweigh the marginal weather any day of the week.

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10JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Granted it is bad everywhere but probably not as bad. I take no pleasure in saying that but it is reality.

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11paulydel(1607 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Apollo you must be one of those people that didn't get a full education because you don't have a clue as to what your talking about. Its ignorence such as yours and the other people who voted for an organizer, Obama that will sink this country. How can anybody in their right mind voted for a man who collected a paycheck from us taxpayers as Senator and vote "Present" 130 times is beyond me. Thats 130 times he didn't take a stand on an issue because he couldn't figure out which way the wind was blowing. People laughed at John McCain because he wanted to reach across the aisle but yet Obama is doing the same thing not that there is anything wrong with that but again ignorence shows. None of the Presidents put us here but the oil companies did by raising gas to over four dollars a gallon. I am ashamed to be a democrat right now. You should do some reading before u=you make stupid comments like that in the future.

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12city_resident(528 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Here is an interesting map with statistics from last December. (so they're a little out of date)


Unless NE Ohio is the only place in the US where unemployment has increased in January, I think we're about average.

As others have said, think carefully before you decide to move away to find a job.

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13khaos(8 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Follow the party line politics is boring. It used to be entertaining watching idiots make an ass out of themselves. It's gotten old.

How you can blame someone in office for not even two months yet is beyond asinine.

Facts, um, no one really seems to care.

Reagan and W did destroy the federal budget but the elder Bush actually started the process that Clinton continued in bringing down the deficit.

But republicans will continue to blame the democrats for everything and the democrats will blame the republicans for everything and that lets too many jerks who will use their elected office for their own benefit because you idiots follow party line rhetoric.

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14apollo(1227 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Paulydel forgets who got us in this mess. (Bush) Paulydel forgets whose watch 9/11 occured on. (Bush) Paulydel thinks he is the only educated one here in the valley. Paulydel is the one who needs educated. Now go listen to Limbaugh's reruns Paulydel!

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15scrooge(563 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago



Paulydel has a much better grasp on reality than khaos and certainly apollo. Quit listening to the evening news and do some of your own research.
Bush did not get us into this mess - in fact he warned the congress to get stricter with the lenders.....but was chastised by your beloved Democrats. I suppose it's his fault the oil futures pushed gas prices over $4.00 / gallon?
Can you seriously sit there and claim with a straight face that Bush CAUSED 911? Oh my GOD what a moron you are!
Pauly may not be the only educated one in the valley, but the more you type the clearer it becomes as to who is NOT.

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16baboo(43 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

Is it any surprise that the valley is in the condition that it is in? There is a union stronghold that is a turnoff to potential companies. We have a shady history of political corruption and mob influence. There is no incentive of tax abatements. The infrastructure is crumbling. And the democratic party has had a stronghold on the valley for decades. Their priority is to keep the people down and on the government dole so that they can be re-elected. As an employer looking at pluses and minuses of a potential area, why would they pick the valley?

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17Stan(9923 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

The cause of the high unemployment rate is the export of jobs. Didn't Bill Clinton facilitate jobs going to China and Mexico? Now with the collapse even they are feeling the pinch as now we dont have the money to buy as much.


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18cord53(38 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

columbus cinc. area no unions jobs jobs jobs. y town get rid of your unions

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19VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

We need to look ahead. Forget the past. It's done and over. What can we do now to end this mess that all of our former leaders got us into? Politics got us into this mess and now, We the People have to get us out of it.

Drastic steps will have to be taken to correct our direction. Do we stop assessing ALL taxes and use stimulus money to run the government? No gas tax, no cig tax, no payroll tax, no business tax, no 1099's. Do we cut the government in half? A bankrupt government does not need to rebuild roads and bridges or pay for pig reseach in Iowa.
Think about it, If you had to file bankruptcy today, what would you have to do?

Our government politico's needs to rebuild consumer spending through confidence in a plan, but they are not reading our messages. They are only sending messages that their political plans are best for us. That is exactly what got us into this mess in the first place!

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20BobbyG(1 comment)posted 7 years, 4 months ago

How can anyone making near minimum wage ever get ahead? They won't. And if it were up to any business owner, minimum wage is still a bit too high! GREED.Congress has given themselves $14,000 raises per year for a job that requires only 120 days of attendance (a part-time job by most standards), while dragging their feet on an increase in minimum wage for nearly 8 years.GREED. Congress also has inflationary adjustsments built in, while minimum wage has none of sorts. Without a union or being able to vote your own pay increases and benefit packages into law, everyone would be near a minimum wage. Congress has no college degree requirement, and some of them do sound educationally deficient. Sorry, for going off on a tangent. WHY DON'T THEY TAKE A PAY DECREASE ....$176,000 FOR A PART TIME JOB...NOT WELL DONE...... KIND OF LIKE THE MEDICAL ESTABLISHMENT, THAT CHARGES REGUARDLESS WHETHER THEY HELPED HEAL YOU OR NOT. That's another topic.

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21JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 7 years, 4 months ago


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