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Valley leads state in economic growth, analyst says



Published: Wed, May 23, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

Area’s unemployment rate dips below 8% for first time since 2008

photo

By Burton Speakman

bspeakman@vindy.com

Youngstown

The Mahoning Valley’s economy is growing faster than any other part of Ohio, at least one analyst says.

The Valley is the only part of the state that has seen decreases in the number of people filing for unemployment consistently the last two months, said George Zeller, Cleveland-based economic research analyst.

“I’ve been saying all over the state that the Mahoning Valley is the fastest-growing part of the state,” he said. “People gasp when I say it.”

Unemployment rates for Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties collectively decreased from 9.7 percent in April 2011 to 7.9 percent for April 2012.

The number of unemployed was down by nearly 5,000 to 20,800, and the area gained 2,100 jobs, according to Ohio labor-market information provided by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The labor force in the Mahoning Valley decreased by 3,000 workers.

Trumbull County had the lowest unemployment rate of the three counties at 7.6 percent, followed by Mahoning at 8.1 percent and Columbiana at 8.3 percent. The previous year, the rates were 9.5 percent, 9.6 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively, according to the JFS department.

Although the recovery locally and throughout Ohio has been positive, it also has been slow.

“The recent changes have been good, but there are still a number of problems in the Mahoning Valley,” Zeller said. The current pace of growth does not have the area fully recovered for 24 years.

“It’s going to take years to overcome the huge losses that occurred previously,” he said. “We need to speed up the recovery.”

The local numbers, however, may be skewed by issues with the state figures. Somehow, the state’s unemployment rate decreased in a month when the state lost jobs, Zeller said.

“Those figures will be readjusted, and some of the unusual aspects will go away,” he said.

Manufacturing has been leading the way in terms of the recovery in the Valley, Zeller said.

Companies such as General Motors and V&M Star have had a big impact.

The information cited about manufacturing generating growth in the Valley backs what the Mahoning Valley Manufacturing Coalition has been hearing from its members, said Jessica Borza, coalition executive director.

“Our members have been telling us that they’ve been experiencing growth,” she said. “This puts an exclamation point on what we’ve been saying.”

In addition, there are several manufacturing companies that serve as suppliers for the large companies, which further increases the potential for an increase or decrease in employment based on the actions of one manufacturer, Borza said.

A recent report from the Brookings Institution about manufacturing shows how far the area has come the past two years.

Manufacturing jobs increased by 11.7 percent between the first quarter of 2010 and the fourth quarter of 2011. The increase ranked third nationally, according to Brookings, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit public-policy organization.

The report also shows how far the area has to go before it is back to its prior position. The Mahoning Valley had lost 46.2 percent of manufacturing jobs by 2010 compared to a decade earlier, according to the Brookings report.

“The biggest thing that’s holding down the economic recovery now is government,” Zeller said. “We could not pick a worse time to cut government spending in the USA and in Ohio, since it is slowing down our rate of recovery at the moment.”

In the three-county area, there was a loss of 291 local government jobs, 141 federal government jobs and 684 state government jobs in the third quarter of 2011 compared to the previous year, according to statistics provided by Zeller. These were the most recent employment figures available broken down by industry.

Within the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, there are at least 40 positions that have been cut or not filled, said Sgt. T.J. Assion, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 141.

When public cuts occur for Mahoning County and the city of Youngstown, public safety is the first thing cut, he said.


Comments

1ytownsteelman(627 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Zeller, how is cutting government spending hampering economic recovery in the Mahoning valley? The job gains we are seeing now are completely a result of private investment here. Can you tell me what the economy will look like in the valley when the government debt ponzi scheme finally collapses and we have out of control inflation and riots in the streets?

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2misterlee(118 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Growth in the valley in large part is due to the government saving GM and the large investment in V&M Star. It is not exclusively private investment. Government spending ended the great depression and tax cuts and loosening of regulations started this recession. If you think less spending helps the economy I suggest you take an economics class and read a few books, because you are really misinformed on this subject.

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3UticaShale(853 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Dig deeper , and read more history ; the ramping up of our military industrial base got us out of the recession. Read the local best seller by Atty. Ben Roth "Great Depression Diary." Pork, failed time after time.
And about GM, ask all the car dealers and Delphi employers who's wealth was redistributed.
Okay, here is when you start calling us capitalist names Mr. Lee.

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4valleyred(1097 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Lee, the stimulus investment is NOT the reason V&M is here:

---However, when Vallourec, V&M’s French-based parent company, announced the expansion Feb. 15, little was said about the stimulus package money.

Oliver Mallet, Vallourec’s chief financial officer, said the project was helped by “very strong local business partnerships with the support of federal, state and municipal governments.”---

It was a very very tiny percentage of the whole project and the VAM expansion just goes to show the need for Stimulus for any of these projects was not all that essential.

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5InterestedInAll(13 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Unemployment numbers do not include those who have stopped looking for jobs, so they only tell part of the story. Furthermore by expressing the improvement in a percentage, having only a relatively small number of jobs as a base to compare to makes a small improvement appear much larger. Political spin in action, but at the same time we all hope that the valley is coming back. Just imagine how much better it would have been if the Delphi Salaried Retirees had been able to keep the 1500 people in the valley dependent on their economic activity employed. Obama lied to us when he talked about pension protection, he has no credibility at all. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgdNKP... He should have been talking about union protection, but then maybe he was...

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6DwightK(1251 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

The question everyone should be asking themselves is whether they are ready if an opportunity for employment presents itself. Dropping out of high school or not attending a trade school or college will leave you ill prepared to sieze an opportunity if it arises.

Take care of yourself and never, ever depend on a government check longer than you have to.

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7Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

It is so sad that so many only look for the wrong is something . What a sad life some live

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8Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

@ InterestedInAll "Unemployment numbers do not include those who have stopped looking for jobs, so they only tell part of the story."

You are correct.

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9Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

blah , First it isn't about negativity it is about how the data is collected . None of what you posted takes into consideration that those who are not employed because they stopped looking for work are not included in any of these figures.

They are not included in gains, losses labor force, or any other measurement they are not included at all. This presents an inaccurate picture of real unemployment. That is all we are saying.It isn't an attempt to be negative it just is a fact.

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10300(553 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Bigben, you're a bit off base there.

The people who quit looking for work, for whatever reason, are counted in the Labor Force. If the Labor Force decreased by 3,000 people, that means that 3,000 people have voluntarily quit looking for work, or retired, got disabled, joined the military, etc.

Of course, that's an estimate, but given the average age in the Valley, I'd guess it's accurate. But, those choosing not to look for work ARE counted within the Labor Force estimate.

On a side note, if someone voluntarily quits looking for work, then f-uck 'em, they don't deserve any help. Anyone who's been out of work for 2 or 3 years isn't anyone deserving of sympathy.

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11bmanresident(597 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

No one needs to worry about economic success. The unions will surely prevail and chase the free enterprise out of the valley.

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12Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

300 - - -"Normally, the labor force of a country (or other geographic entity) consists of everyone of working age (typically above a certain age (around 14 to 16) and below retirement (around 65) who are participating workers, that is people actively employed or seeking employment. People not counted include students, retired people, stay-at-home parents, people in prisons or similar institutions, people employed in jobs or professions with unreported income, as well as discouraged workers who cannot find work." -- This is form Wikepedia which I generally frown on using but I think you'll find it consistent with most definitions of labor force.

"On a side note, if someone voluntarily quits looking for work, then f-uck 'em, they don't deserve any help. Anyone who's been out of work for 2 or 3 years isn't anyone deserving of sympathy." - - -I didn't anything about sympathy ect just the fact that the figures for unemployment are inaccurate and in fact they are.

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13thinkthentalk(259 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Typical republicans spin. Cant accept any good news, anything positive.

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14300(553 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Bigben, you proved what I said. Those people are counted for labor force statistics (albeit in a negative capacity).

Not working and being unemployed are two different things.

The unemployment rate is accurate. It doesn't matter if you, personally, don't like the definition of the term.

Much of the downward shifts in the size of the labor force, and LFPR, are natural given that baby-boomers are now hitting retirement age. Added to the fact that they had smaller families, means that less people overall will be in the work force. Though, this is only true in some parts of the US, like ours. It depends on demographics primarily, and the economy secondarily.

This could easily change, though, due to the Millennial generation which is larger than the baby boomer generation. In 10-15 years, I expect that the labor force will be larger even in places like Ohio and PA than it is now. As for the LFPR, who knows, that could stay steady over the long-term.

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15doubled(210 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

You people are hilarious. The GOTP says that job growth was the result of private investment, and that the president's policies or the stimulus had nothing to do with it -- and then the next GOTP comment says that job growth is occuring b/c we have a republican governor. I mean, honestly, are you all that stupid to think the answer to the question of long-term economic development comes down to democratic policy or conservative policy? And as far as passing laws that create jobs, I haven't seen the GOTP do anything to create any jobs. I have seen them pass numerous laws in numerous states related to banning contraception and forcing pre-abortion vaginal screens, voter suppression laws, immigration laws, etc, etc. So I'm not sure if the GOTP is capable any longer of implementing job creation policy - b/c they haven't done anything in the past two years to create any jobs, and apparently aren't planning to do anything in the future either. All anybody ever hears you people talk about is how bad obama is and what a lousy job he's doing, but you don't ever offer any alternatives. You just talk a lot about how horrible our country is - and normal people are tired of you. In the eyes of most reasonable and moderate Americans - you're sort of pathetic.

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16Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

300 "Bigben, you proved what I said. Those people are counted for labor force statistics (albeit in a negative capacity)." labor force - - - -"People not counted... discouraged workers who cannot find work."

I guess we can agree to disagree.

I learned this in college economics and it was quite a surprise to me at the time . I thought that they counted all unemployed but they don't.

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17misterlee(118 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Utica,
Ramping up the military- industrial base IS government stimulation. Are you really this dense?

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18UticaShale(853 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Lee,

Newport News Shipbuilding built most of the carriers and Electric Boat built most of the submarines. Boeing, Gruman, Rockwell, Sperry,Colt, Remington, etc. are all private companies and so was Spam. I do believe the government never owned any defense industries. But you are the college boy here, so maybe you already knew this but failed to remember. As far as calling us capitalist names (dense), I surely predicted it, didn't I? Here is somemore history son, after WWII, the US was the largest creditor nation due to the provision of product produced by private companies to the ravaged countries of the war, now we do not even produce our own clothes, I just love free enterprise. Of course you weren't even born when we produced, all you know is made in China and I think you love it.

Okay, now that you got your lesson, go ahead and respond with all you got.....name calling.

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19UticaShale(853 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

I have worked in the defense industry for 7.5 years. Comparing stimulating GM to these industries is elmentary. To say that ALL the companies will go belly up is an uneducated statement. I believe the US defense industries are still the largest suppliers of armaments to the world governments. College boy's tantrum was trying to compare the lending of bailout millions to GM, to a defense contract of orders to these industries. One was a sale, the other was a junk bond loan. Financially savy people know that China loaned the money indirectly to GM for future payments in cars, this is reflected by the abundance of GM cars in China today.

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