Saturday, December 01, 2007

Cleveland's 'Perplexing Economy'

"'Cleveland is a perplexing economy,' according to Dr. Chmura. 'It should be growing faster than it is because the industry mix is more favorable than the state and the region has so many attractive qualities such as the arts, cultural attractions, recreational opportunities, and professional sports teams.' Employment in the Cleveland metropolitan area was virtually unchanged in August 2007; it expanded by only 400 jobs compared with a year earlier."
--from a recent presentation by an economist invited by Colliers Ostendorf-Morris, a commercial real estate firm whose representatives include (according to her profile on LinkedIn) former Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell.

19 Comments:

At 6:17 PM, Blogger Cleveland Carole Cohen 3C said...

John, I appreciated reading Dr. Chmura's analyssi. What always seems to happen is someone adds 250 jobs, and another place leaves town, so it's a wash. Flat is a good way to describe it...it kind of plays up the value of what Vickie Eaton was saying on Thurs about the Clinic adding that Cardiovascular Innovation Ctr; and it gives me a chance to beat the passenger rail horse. I just keep harping back to the idea that spending good money on passenger rail, high speed, could really make the kind of economic difference we need.

 
At 8:25 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

This regional economy sure does seem flat to a lot of people. Over and over again, I hear businesspeople saying that while they're based here, if they had to depend on doing business only in this region, that they'd be in big trouble.

 
At 9:44 AM, Blogger George Nemeth said...

I wonder how many people will connect with her because of this post? I have to say, I'm tempted...

 
At 11:07 AM, Blogger roldo bartimole said...

Wonder what would have happened had Cleveland Tomorrow not changed its original and main purpose - to strengthen the Cleveland area economy - and shifted its focus and energy on downtown Cleveland back in the late 1980 and early 1990s to sports facilites, the rock and roll hall of fame and subidized downtown buildings. Those downtown efforts took immense private energy and depended upon divisive and costly public subsidization. We still have that going on with the Medical Mart/Convention Center effort, largely again with heavy public investment and little economic payoff.

The supposed public/private partnerships have never been primarily publicly underwritten.

While lifting community spirits from time to time the sports and rock efforts add little in economic revival and cost much in public treasure and focus.

 
At 12:01 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

George, I'll be watching to see if she accepts your invitation. She's just one of a number of high-profile people I've found recently on LinkedIn who are trying to re-invent themselves. Typically, they don't have a whole bunch of connections, because (I'm guessing here) they haven't really taken to the software, but have instead been convinced by a trusted friend or colleague that it's worth doing, but they don't really have their hearts in it, or see the value.

And Roldo, funny how retro Cleveland Tomorrow already sounds, just a few years after its demise. It was a remnant of when Cleveland was more of a major corporate HQ town than it is today.

 
At 12:24 PM, Blogger Valdis said...

Places like Silicon Valley[SV] create jobs because of all of the interconnections available for ideas to cross-pollinate and be prototyped and developed. Innovation happens at the intersections, so a place with many intersections has a natural advantage.

The iPod was created in SV not by Apple alone, but by Apple and some of it's SV neighbors[who had the knowledge/tech Apple did not have, but needed => intersections!!!]. Then, to build the invention, Apple used it's international network of manufacturers.

It's the connections, stupid!

Instead of Cleveland Tomorrow maybe we need Connected Cleveland???

 
At 12:43 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Well said, as usual, Valdis. As you know better than most, Cleveland is pretty well connected in certain innovative networks, which you've nicely mapped. And of course you arrived here in the first place via one particularly innovative regional super hub, BrewedFreshDaily. So we're making some progress. Thanks for visiting.

 
At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Roldo said...

Well, Cleveland Tomorrow has just changed names. It's now Greater Cleveland Partnership. Sure backers of the Med Mart/Conv. Ct. You are right about the corporate decline.

In the past you could find where CT's money came from but now it's redacted from tax returns. However, it's likely the same corporations are funding it.

Here's a smattering of original contributors to CT and likely now to GCP (This was 1/3 of promised contribution):

BP, $2.3 million (gone); Eaton Corp, $2 millon; David & Dick Jacobs, $167,000; Forest City, $334,000; Jones-Day, $250,000; ational City bank, $501,000; Ohio Bell, $1 million; Society Corp.,
501,000; TRW $1 million;Nestles, $1 million (last two gone); Premier Industrial $334,000, Cleveland Foundation, $334,000.

So you see the business front group - CT or GCP - are well funded and thus the purpose of the two agencies fits the corporate need.

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Actually, Roldo, not to be too technical, but the old Growth Association actually morphed into the current GCP. Cleveland Tomorrow was a more elite, exclusive sub-group, comprised (as I remember it) of the leaders of the 50 largest institutions in town, mostly corporate, but also some nonprofit and educational institutions. So strictly speaking, it doesn't really have any surviving counterpart. Though of course those kinds of elite sub-groups still have conversations. They're just less formalized and perhaps less regular than in the past. But some mutation of that conversation still goes on nearly every day at, for instance, the Union Club.

 
At 3:58 PM, Anonymous roldo said...

Yes, they are all rolled into one ball now but the game's the same.

By the way, why aren't you watching the game?

 
At 7:14 PM, Blogger Cleveland Carole Cohen 3C said...

John, one of the hand outs at the Levin Forum the other day was a bookmarker with www.themindofcleveland.com on it. So tonight I went in wondering what it was all about. It seems to be for artistically creative types which does not include me, but it's a Yahoo! group. lol. Wondered if you or your readers know anything about it, since you all seem very wise!

 
At 9:22 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Roldo, I didn't watch much of the Cavs game today (which as you have recently found out, I can be a tad intense about) in part because Lebron didn't play, but also because the Browns were also playing later in the afternoon, and I'm even more intense about them, if only because they play far less frequently. And I must admit that I would feel guilty about watching six solid hours of sports back-to-back (though I nevertheless have been known to do that). Instead, I got a little work done, and feel better about it now, especially since I'm in mourning for another close Brownies loss.

And Carole, for heaven's sake don't eject yourself from the ranks of the creative for no apparent reason. Anyone who can sustain a publication (which is what your blog is) all by themselves, and find an audience and come up with interesting and articulate observations on a regular basis passes that test easily. I have indeed come across that site you mention occasionally, and have been a little underwhelmed by it so far, but nevertheless think it's a good idea, and a noble experiment on the part of CIA and CWRU's Baker-Nord Center for Humanities, the latter of which has been responsible for regularly bringing some world-class minds to campus to speak. I think it's a real unsung jewel of Cleveland's intellectual community.

 
At 11:43 PM, Blogger Franpro said...

John,
In my experience when "they" say the economy and job market in Cleveland are "flat', what "they" really mean is things are going into the poopers.
In my little consulting business I am noticing a change...my phone is ringing and my e-mail box is pinging. The inquires are from folks who are thinking about alternatives to traditional employment. In the past, {Like 2002-2003} it meant that downsizings were continuing, and jobs were hard to find. I am feeling this, and have been for about the last 45 days.
Joel Libava

 
At 9:55 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Interesting perspective, Joel. I think you're quite right. But on another subject, I was very sorry to learn from your blog that your dad passed away. He was a truly great guy, and one of the best neighbors I've ever had. I'm so sorry for your loss.

 
At 10:23 AM, Blogger Franpro said...

Wow, John.
Thanx a lot. Almost 6 months now.
{June 23rd} It is still pretty surreal.
Anyway, he was really behind me, as I took over his franchise consulting business. He liked my aggressive style. He also liked the fact that I latched on with the way he did business...ethically.
He liked you a lot, too.
Again, thanx..you made me pause for a moment, this morning....
Joel Libava, and family

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Joel, I will never, as long as I live, forget how my then-young sons responded to his gentleness and authentic interest in them. Kids can smell a phony a mile away, and they warmed to few adults before the age of 5. But they always came to life when they saw your dad. I only wish I could have made it to his service.

 
At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think implicit in valdisc's point is the distinct dna of the West: it's still a frontier mentality that views risk as the path to reward. and more often than not, it's young people cutting the trails that become paths. interconnections, cross-pollination, innovation--all requisites, no doubt, but without risk takers, not much is going to happen, even when you have plenty of the aforementioned ingredients...

 
At 5:27 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Well said, anonymous one. This subject seems to have some legs, with comments still being added days later. I'm always amazed at how I can never tell ahead of time which subjects will spark comments and which won't. It seems to be quite random. Anyway, thank you all for sounding off on this. I love the input and conversation.

 
At 8:16 PM, Anonymous Chris Chmura said...

Roldo,
All of the improvements in downtown Cleveland are helping, but it seems that the news is not getting out fast enough...I was eating lunch with a client last week who lives in Roanoke, Virginia. He said he had a 2-day meeting in Cleveland a year ago and asked his wife to go with him. She had no interest. He insisted she go and now they both think it is one of the most under-rated cities in the nation--they are looking forward to a return visit because they had such a good time.

In the meantime, the region continues to struggle. Our latest quarterly report shows that employment in the metropolitan area fell 0.02% for the year ending October 2007 and the unemployment rate rose to its highest level in four years (6.2% in July).

 

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