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Cavs CEO says NBA playoffs run is helping Downtown Cleveland businesses

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots surrounded by the Orlando Magic.
Ron Schwane
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots against the Orlando Magic during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Tuesday, April 30, 2024, in Cleveland.

It's been a whirlwind few weeks for Cleveland, starting with the total solar eclipse in April that brought tens of thousands of people to the city, along with Cleveland hosting the NCAA Women's Final Four. Cleveland sports teams have also seen major success, with the Cavaliers winning their first NBA Playoff series without LeBron James since 1993.

Cavs CEO Nic Barlage has said the playoff run could bring 20,000 or more people downtown, helping area businesses that benefit from people coming early and staying late after the games.

Thursday, the Cavs continue their second round playoff series, hoping to secure a win in Boston against the Celtics after a not-so-great showing in Game 1.

We'll start Thursday's "Sound of Ideas" by talking to Barlarge about the economic impact of the Cavs' success.

Later in this hour, Cleveland is still behind in job recovery since the pandemic, by almost 16,000 jobs, or about 1.4% behind its total in February 2020. It's the largest gap in the state according to a new report from Policy Matters Ohio, a nonprofit policy research institute. Akron also has lost about 2,400 jobs. Columbus saw the largest growth, adding more than 33,000 jobs, or a growth of about 3% since 2020.

The report, which analyzed 2023 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, also found that four of the 10 most common jobs in Ohio paid median wages so low that those employees with a family of three or more qualified for federal food aid. These jobs include fast food workers and retail salespersons.

There are some bright spots in the report. For instance, eight of the 10 most common jobs saw median wage increases including laborers and registered nurses.

Joining us to talk about the state of Ohio's job market is the senior researcher behind the report, Michael Shields, economist with Policy Matters Ohio.

And finally, we'll share another installment of our music podcast Shuffle, this time featuring Cleveland singer-songwriter Jack Harris.

-Nic Barlage, CEO, Rock Entertainment Group
-Michael Shields, Economist & Senior Researcher, Policy Matters Ohio
-Amanda Rabinowitz, Host and Producer, "All Things Considered" and "Shuffle"
-Jack Harris, Singer-Songwriter

Rachel is the supervising producer for Ideastream Public Media’s morning public affairs show, the “Sound of Ideas.”