Region Loses 800 Jobs after Two Months of Growth

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AMY EDDINGS:  This is Morning Edition on 90.3 WCPN.  I'm Amy Eddings.  Two steps forward, one step back.  That's the headline coming out of the recent economic report by The Ahola Corporation and Crains.  We lost 800 jobs in March in the metropolitan region, after two months of job growth.  Elizabeth McIntyre is publisher and editor of Crains.  Elizabeth, why the drop in jobs?

McINTYRE: You know, what we're seeing is the roller coaster ride that we see month to month.  So, yes, we did backtrack a bit. but really, if you tak a look at what the job numbers did nationally in March, what we saw in Ohio was very similar.  Our local economist, Jack Kleinhenz, who puts the numbers together for us, he said the down numbers in March could be an indication to the slow start of the selling season, because March car sales lagged behind more than execeted and consumer spending was flat in February as well. 

EDDINGS: Moving on to other stories that Crains has covered in the last few weeks: There's been a rash of grocery store closings, as Crains reported....Giant Eagle closed two stores in Clevleand earlier this year..Buehler's closed its store in Brunswick last fall....IGA's last store in Akron is closing this month.  One of the key drivers is food deflation, something that hasn't happened in fifty years.  What is it, and why is it happening?

McINTYRE: So, in simple terms, Amy, food deflation means lower prices for consumers, so that's good news, in a lot of ways.  And why this is happening has a lot to do with the strong U.S. dollar, which is slowing exports and boosting imports, which translates into a bigger domestic supply of food, which then translates into lower food prices.

EDDINGS: Moving on from food, to sports, the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships is coming to Edgewater Park in 2018 and 2019.  It's the latest in a series of national sporting championships to come to Cleveland....Why is this an economic boon for Cleveland?  It seems like such a niche market compared to, say, the NBA All Star game, which the Cavs have been promised if they renovate Quicken Loans Arena.

McINTYRE: Right, there's no denying that most cities would love to host an event like the NBA or Major League Baseball All-Star Games, or a political convention every year, if they could. But the reality is, those are rare events.  They only come around every so often. For example, Cleveland hasn't hosted an All-Star Game since 1997, when it hosted both the NBA and the NLB All-Star Games in the same year, which is really unprecedented.  So what yo're left with for organizations like Destination Cleveland or the Sports Commission, you can't expect those events, so you string together more of these mid-level events.  And they do have a significant economic impact.  So, just this week, the NCAA announced tht Cleveland will be hosting eight championeships between 2019 and 2022.  Well, the combined economic impact of those eight events is estimated to be close to $16 million.  So it adds up.

EDDINGS: What I found interesting was that the NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championships coming to the Q in 2018, that 98%, something like that, of people who come to that, come from out of town; that there's going to be a very limited supply of tickets for locals because it has such a following.  So, that's hotel rooms, that's eating out at restaurants.  I can see why that would really excite Destinaton Cleveland.

McINTYRE: You bet.

EDDINGS: Elizabeth McIntyre is the editor and publisher of Crains Cleveland.  Thanks for joining us.

McINTYRE: Thank you.



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