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RG Steel layoffs raise jobless rate in Valley to 8%

Published: Wed, July 25, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.


By Burton Speakman



The jobless rate is rising for the first time this year in the Mahoning Valley, but overall the economy appears to be a of mix of good and bad.

The layoffs at RG Steel in Warren increased the unemployment figures for not only Trumbull County but Mahoning County and to an extent Columbiana County, said George Zeller, a Cleveland-based economist. Before the layoffs, RG Steel had 1,135 employees.

“I’ve been saying for the last few months that the Youngstown area was the fastest growing economically in the state,” Zeller said. “That hasn’t been true the last few weeks.”

The unemployment rates are based on where someone lives and not where they work, meaning that RG Steel layoffs would impact multiple counties, Zeller said.

The unemployment rate would probably be higher, at least in Trumbull County, if the rates were seasonally adjusted, he said.

The nonseasonal adjusted unemployment rate for the Mahoning Valley is 8 percent for June. It is up from the 7.4 percent rate from May but is lower than the 10 percent rate for the Valley in June 2011,

according to data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The county and city data for joblessness though are likely to be skewed due to the large number of seasonal employees in June, Zeller said. The month has one of the highest seasonal adjustments each year.

A positive sign in the figures is the number of people employed in both Trumbull and Mahoning counties is up, said Tod Porter, professor of economics at Youngstown State University.

“The overall trends from the last few months are positive, but I would say that with one caveat. It makes sense to me the RG Steel layoffs are not shown in the [current] figures,” he said.

Zeller agreed that the full number of RG Steel layoffs probably did not appear in June jobless figures.

The increase in the labor force is likely due to an increased number of high school graduates entering the work force and possible some formerly discouraged workers who might have re-entered the labor force, he said.

“The increase in the unemployment rate is not what you want,” Porter said. “There are times during a recovery when you might have an increase in unemployment rate as previously discouraged workers are pulled back into the workforce.”

There are issues other than seasonal employment that make analyzing employment figures on a statewide level difficult. Ohio reported the second-largest increase in the number of jobs created with more than 18,000 while simultaneously stating there was an increase of more than 12,000 in the number of people unemployed, Zeller said. Ohio also reported a decrease of more than 18,000 in the state’s overall workforce.

“These things cannot all occur. The problems are technical and based on how the information is collected,” Zeller said. The figures will be adjusted later as better information becomes available, he added.

“It’s difficult to put a lot of stock in any one month’s numbers. Unemployment figures are notoriously flaky,” Porter added.

In Youngstown, the unemployment rate increased to 10 percent in June, up from 9.5 percent in May but down from 12.9 percent in June 2011.

Among the state’s 88 counties, the June 2012 unemployment rates ranged from a low of 4.6 percent in Mercer County to a high of 13.0 percent in Pike County. Rates increased in 85 of the 88 counties.


1lee(544 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Oh go ahead and raise taxes that will make everything OK

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2georgejeanie(1275 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Like I said before. I bet these workers would love to have Bain Capital buy RG Steel and reopen this plant. I know Hagan and his minions would have a problem, if Bain had to lay off half of the workers to make this work, but 500 people would still have jobs but they would focus on the 500 who lost their jobs, instead of thanking Bain for saving 500 jobs.

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3DwightK(1495 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Is that how we're forming opinions now? Thinking about what could have happened and then insinuating how elected officials would have responded so we can disagree with their pretend reactions?

Does that strike anyone else as just a little crazy?

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4greene(167 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

What is the Valley unemployment rate for blacks?

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5dmacker(445 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

For the local Obama supporters getting all the "free stuff" none of this affects them.
The "free stuff" just keeps on coming and the worker bees just keep sharing their honey.
Ain't life great. Ohio still backs Obama.

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6DwightK(1495 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

dmacker, you know that taxes are down for the middle class under Obama so the worker bees are keeping more of their honey than ever.

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7Attis(1052 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

RG Steel (Rape/Greed/Steal), a bunch of corporate vultures take over a productive steel plant which has nurtured countless working families in the Valley for over a century, squeeze the life juices out it, and then illegally shut it down practically overnight, and there is not even a peep of protest. What have We the People become: spineless, speechless slaves?

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8walter_sobchak(2513 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

For all of you posters that don't quite get this RG Steel bankruptcy, the bonuses are UP TO $20M to be paid from an ongoing account at the company and are contingent on the sale or liquidation of these plants. The plan is complex and has been approved by the federal judge with the approval of the senior lenders, Wells Fargo Capital Finance and General Electric Capital Corp. Now, it is quite possible they could share in this amount or it could be less but the two lenders are SECURED creditors. This is how financing works. I have been an unsecured creditor on a bankruptcy and it sucks. But, if a business does not meet the creditors' target rate of return, they act to get back as much of their money as possible.

Now, you Barry Soetoro supporters can answer this question: Is that GE Capital the same company as the one that supports the president?

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9YSU_Alumna(57 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

I grew up in Youngstown and moved to SW Florida for work in 1984. Please don't think things are any better here. The unemplyment rate is 8.8% in Collier County where I live and 9.3% in Lee County where I work. Please don't come here looking for a better chance at work. Cost of living is utterly ridiculous and wages are incredibly low with no unions to protect you (right to work state) and no job stability (at will state). I am lucky that I came early enough in the game to save to afford some property but even now, only the rich can afford to buy here. I miss a lot of the spirit of Yougstown and read the Vindicator daily. Get to work and take back your city! Oh, and Green, why does the rate for Blacks make a difference? We are all people, red, yellow, black, white, purple. There are good and bad in all colors. Don't make it a racial thing, puleeze.

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10AnotherAverageCitizen(1180 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

And where are all the Kasich supporters. If unemployement goes down they are giving all the credit to kasisk. And taxing the personal income tax on the rich has nothing to do with a company. Lower taxes for the company is OK. But why lower taxes on the up tp 20 million in bonuses

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11DSquared(1620 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Obama sent "Bonuses" of over 2.2 Billion of Stimulus money overseas. "Government Motors" will soon manufacture 7 of 10 vehicles overseas! Sorry. Barry can't run away from his pathetic record of failure. Kasich 2020!

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12southsidedave(5174 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

@YSU_Alumna...seems as the the cost of living would be less in Lee County, rather than Collier? I lived in FL many years and that is true.

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13DSquared(1620 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Thank you Mr Obama for the Trans Pacific Partnership Act. I hear the jobs leaving already.

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14VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Retail sales in The Valley are also flat, while expenses are up, so retailers are cutting back on payroll expenses by cutting back on employee's hours. If this trend continues, you will see retail lay-offs (or not hiring to replace employees who left) until the coming holiday season.

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15YSU_Alumna(57 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

SSDave..You are right. Cost of living is a bit lower in Lee County. I started in Naples 28 years ago & LOVE it here. I hope to stay 'til cremation time. Will still come back to see beautiful Mill Creek Park and many good people, but only to visit.

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16cambridge(3821 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

zz3.....I don't know what union you are a member of but the one I'm a member of has around three thousand working members. The "Business Manager" runs the union along with three business agents. Those are the only members that work full time for the union. The business manager is paid foreman's wages and the business agents are paid journeyman's wages. They have the exact same health care and retirement as the membership. Not a dime more. The books are open to all members, meaning that without notice any member can walk into the union office alone or with lawyers and accountants and demand to see the books and those books would be turned over immediately.

Any money that is contributed for any politician is voted on at union meetings by the membership. No money goes to any politician without a majority vote.

The president, vice president, recording secretary and any other union official's are not paid and work in the field the same as the rest of the membership.

If you're going to post something on this board you should know what you're talking about.

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17AnotherAverageCitizen(1180 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Cambridge, thats not the way it works. The repubs believe if they say the lies enough people will believe them

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18cambridge(3821 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

zz3.....That's interesting that you claim my union has me lulled to sleep, especially since you don't know me or what union I'm a member of.

I've been a member of my union since the 70's and my local and our international are run exactly the same way now as then.

As far as unions giving to pac's, all the union contributions combined won't match the koch brothers. Someone has to look out for the middle class and that's who unions help get elected.

I'm for 100% government funded elections. The way it is now the koch brothers and a few others can spend billions to elect who ever they want. I'm not real comfortable with a half dozen people deciding who runs the government for more than 300 million.

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19jojuggie(1635 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

"I'm for 100% govt. elections."
So was Obama when he ran, in the 2008 election, but then he saw the money flowing in & changed his mind.
You & your Koch brothers. SOROS can buy & sell them and has given multi billions to very liberal causes. He has also brought down a Govt. with his tatics, and has been fined many times by world governments.
In the 2008 election Obama outraised twice what McCain raised, but I guess that was OK.

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20cambridge(3821 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

"in the 2008 election Obama outraised twice what mccain raised, but I guess that was OK." None of it was pac money.

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21Karen59Cortland(4 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

I’m amazed that the unemployment rate isn’t higher.

Republicans have voted NO on 19 individual pieces of legislation that would have created jobs in America.

So what have they been doing the past 17 months? The top 5 list, making up 61% of the legislation passed:

1st on the list is Renaming Federal Buildings – 23% of the bills passed; 2nd is short-term (under 1 year) extensions of existing laws; 3rd is transferring federal lands or the use of federal lands to individual states; 4th are Commemorative Issues; 5th is continuing existing appropriations.

In the meantime, profit at companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index rose 16 percent last year.

The CEO of a typical public company made $9.6 million in 2011, up 6% from 2010. Any middle class Americans see a 6% increase in 2011?

Newly released IRS figures show that in 2009 U.S. nonfinancial companies held $4.8 trillion in liquid assets, “ie” cold hard cash.

Republicans are holding America hostage in their quest to take over the Presidency.

If they do, the assault on the working poor and middle class will escalate, while they line their pockets and finish off America as we know it.

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