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slgckgc / Flickr/Creative Commons

The state’s cash welfare program has been sending out half as many checks to Ohio families as it did three and a half years ago, but advocates have very different explanations for that.

The Ohio Works First program provides a maximum of $465 a month to some of the state’s poorest people, those making just under $9,990 for a family of three. Most recipients can only get benefits for three years, and adults in the program have to be working or in job training for at least 30 hours a week. The money buys things that food stamps and other programs don’t cover.

Yellow Springs To Vote On Business Park Referendum

Oct 13, 2014
A cornfield behind Antioch University Midwest on Dayton could become a business park called the CBE.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Yellow Springs residents will weigh in Nov. 4 on whether the village should fund infrastructure for a new business park at the edge of town. The proposal, called the Center for Business and Education or CBE, would open up new land to development by funding infrastructure, but the village is divided over whether it should borrow money to make the site “shovel ready” for developers.

Minimum wage activists demonstrated in Dayton in December 2013.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Today is October 10, 10/10—and it’s been declared National Minimum Wage Day. $10.10 is the new minimum wage many advocates are calling for. Right now Ohio’s minimum wage is $7.95, and it will automatically go up to $8.10 on January 1, 2015.

Yellow Springs packs its downtown twice a year for the street fair.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

The village of Yellow Springs, on the surface, is hopping economically. Property values are headed up, and downtown vacancies are low. Antioch College is growing and just opened a renovated fitness and wellness center. But just below the surface, the village has a lot of the same issues as other parts of the region. A lack of well-paying jobs means it’s becoming more of a bedroom community.

 27 foot 1987 Airstream Sovereign built at the Jackson Center Ohio Airstream factory.
Tdenton/Wikimedia Commons

The trailer company Airstream has announced a major expansion at its facility in Jackson Center, Ohio, 56 miles north of Dayton. The company is investing $5.9 million dollars in the project, and its parent company, Thor Industries, says the millions they’re putting into the expansion will allow them to increase office capacity and production of their famous silver travel-trailers by 70%.

Airstream is Jackson Center’s biggest employer, according to Village Administrator Bruce Metz.

Dollar General has opened hundreds of stores a year for the last few years.
Random Retail / Flickr/Creative Commons

This weekend is the grand opening of a new Dollar General in Vandalia; the chain has been growing steadily in the region even as another discount store, K-Mart, has announced closures in Fairborn and Springfield.

Ever since the recession, low-cost discount stores like Kmart have seen competition from below, with smaller discount stores with low prices experiencing record growth. Dollar General has been one of the biggest winners: all over the country the stores are getting bigger and offering more, including cheap grocery products.

An airplane at the Vectren Dayton Airshow, a yearly event at the Dayton Airport.
eawortman / Flickr/Creative Commons

Janet Bednarek, a professor of history at the University of Dayton, specializes in airports—and in the idea of the airport as a hub for economic growth. She thinks airports bring a lot of potential, but there are also limitations; ultimately, she says, corporations decide where they want to go, and an “if you build it, they will come” approach can backfire.

“Dayton has always tried to capitalize on the fact that we’re at the intersection of two major interstates,” says Bednarek. “It just seems like the ability to capitalize on that hasn’t seemed to happen yet.”

This Labor Day, there are a record low number of Ohioans in the labor force—fewer than there have been since October 1978. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports just 59 percent of Americans 16 and over have declared that they are part of the labor force; in Ohio, that figure is just under 63 percent, a 34-year low. That’s not the only thing that has the progressives at Policy Matters Ohio worried. Amy Hanauer says the group’s annual Labor Day report also shows the state lost more than 2.3 percent of its jobs since 2005, while the country added 3.8 percent in that same period.

The logo for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
WOSU

State and national jobless numbers are closely watched as economic indicators, and the unemployment figures can also give useful clues for those seeking their first full-time job.

Last month, 323,000 Ohio adults were actively seeking work and not able to find a job, and the unemployment rate crept up for the first time in several months. The figure includes recent high school and college graduates looking for that first job, or an entry level job.

Nicola / Flickr/Creative Commons

Whirlpool Corporation is breaking ground Wednesday on an expanded KitchenAid factory in Greenville, 40 miles northwest of Dayton, with plans to add hundreds of jobs in the next few years.

 

The Michigan-based company has been expanding its manufacturing operations in parts of the U.S. since about 2010, and now plans to spend $40 million over five years to nearly double the size of the Greenville facility, where it makes stand mixers and a few other appliances.

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