Business & Economy

In cities around America, thousands of construction companies, restaurants and other businesses are bracing for "A Day Without Immigrants," a combination boycott/strike that highlights the contributions of immigrants to U.S. business and culture.

Steve Brown

Chris Kowalski has had a rough go of it lately.

The owner and operator of Jack's Downtown Diner lost his wife to cancer in 2015. He closed the diner later that year, and when he reopened in 2016, the normally-quaint Lynn Street was a full-blown construction site.

Lancaster, Ohio, the home of the Fortune 500 company Anchor Hocking, was once a bustling center of industry and employment. At its peak following World War II, Lancaster's hometown company was the world's largest maker of glassware and employed more than 5,000 town residents.

Though Anchor Hocking remains in Lancaster today, it is a shell of its former self, and the once thriving town is beset by underemployment and drug abuse. Lancaster native Brian Alexander chronicles the rise and fall of his hometown in his new book, Glass House.

President Trump signed two directives on Friday, ordering a review of financial industry regulations known as Dodd-Frank and halting implementation of a rule that requires financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

Trump himself made his intentions clear in a meeting with small business owners Monday. "Dodd-Frank is a disaster," Trump said. "We're going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank."

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

The U.S. added 227,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate rose just slightly, ticking up a tenth of a percentage point to 4.8 percent, according to the monthly report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The robust jobs number beat most predictions from economists, who had pegged the payroll increase at 175,000, according to NPR's Yuki Noguchi.

Since taking office, President Trump has stepped away from running his business empire. But in Florida, a federal judge has handed a legal defeat to the organization that bears his name. He ruled that Trump National Jupiter Golf Club must refund members nearly $6 million.

It's a case that began in 2012 when Trump bought the struggling golf club from Marriott Vacations Worldwide. He paid just $5 million, a bargain price. But as part of the deal, he had to assume some $50 million in debt, money owed to members who put down refundable deposits and now wanted out of the club.

SalFalko / Flickr

A judge has blocked an Ohio law that would have barred local hiring regulations for public projects, such as Cleveland's requirement that city residents get to work on certain projects.

Debbie Holmes

Columbus city officials plan to invest more than $20 million into Hamilton Road on Columbus’s southeast side.  The project aims to boost business investments and rejuvenate a long-overlooked commercial area between I-70 and Refugee Road.

One consequence of Republican gains in the 2016 elections is playing out at the state level where organized labor appears likely to face big setbacks in the coming months.

Within days of convening this month, Kentucky lawmakers passed "right-to-work" legislation that prohibit labor unions from forcing non-union members to pay fees to the union.

It's the 27th state with such laws. State legislatures in Missouri and New Hampshire are also actively debating similar bills that could become law by February.

Leaders of several American companies have announced plans to hire, house or otherwise support people affected by President Trump's sweeping freeze on people seeking asylum in the U.S. or traveling from seven largely Muslim countries.

NPR's Carrie Johnson breaks down the president's executive order on immigration here.

Ohio Union Membership Grew Slightly In 2016

Jan 30, 2017
Labor Union Hall
Djembayz / Wikimedia Commons

More Ohio workers opted to join unions last year – bucking a national trend that showed membership falling.

According to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership in Ohio rose to 12.4 percent last year: about 617,000 workers.

As the toll of the opioid epidemic grows, scores of doctors have lost their licenses and some have gone to prison. Pharmacies are being sued and shuttered. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are under investigation and face new rules from regulators.

But penalties against companies that serve as middlemen between drug companies and pharmacies have been relatively scarce — until recently.

WikiMedia

One of the newer additions to the Columbus skyline is being acquired by a San Francisco corporation for $1.1 billion. 

As the Trump administration is expected to overhaul America's immigration system, some policymakers suggest looking north to Canada.

That's because Canadians see immigration as critical to their economic success. The nation has invited in so many immigrants that today, one-fifth of the population is foreign-born.

Yet Canadians don't seem to wrestle with anti-immigrant nativism that has erupted in the U.S. and Europe.

Canadian Pacific/Flickr

Bob Evans, a Central Ohio mainstay known for its "down on the farm" offerings, announced this week  it's selling all of its restaurants to a California-based private equity firm. One analyst says he's not surprised.

The Dow Jones industrial average cruised past another milestone Wednesday — the 20,000 level, further evidence of the long bull market that has lifted share prices since the depths of the financial crisis.

The index closed at a record 20,068. Since the November elections, the Dow and the broader S&P 500 are up 9.5 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.

Additive manufacturing — commonly called 3D printing — is a fast-growing technology in northeast Ohio.  And Tuesday it got bigger, literally. 

“Sixteen tons and what you get?”  A 22-foot long high-tech machine that creates sophisticated sand-casting molds for complex metal parts.   

For several years, Oxfam International has released an annual report on global wealth inequity. The numbers were startling: In the 2016 report, Oxfam said the world's richest 62 people owned as much wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion.

WOSU Archive

Gov. John Kasich has been warning for months now that tax revenues coming into the state are below expectations and that the upcoming two-year state budget will be tighter than in the past. His recent speeches have taken on a new theme.

Volkswagen has agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle civil and criminal allegations over its diesel emissions cheating scheme involving some 590,000 vehicles in the U.S.

The company has also agreed to plead guilty to three criminal felony counts.

It's still unclear whether Verizon will follow through on a $4.8 billion deal to buy Yahoo's core internet business, but if the sale is finalized, there's a name for what will be left behind.

Even before Barack Obama moved into the White House, he and his team made a choice that made actually selling his policies to the public more difficult.

In December 2008, Obama's economic team gathered in Chicago to map out what would become the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"A dispute, discussion, something breaks out at that meeting. We haven't even come in yet," said Austan Goolsbee, a professor at the University of Chicago, who was a top economic adviser in the early years of the Obama presidency.

The Limited headquarters in New Albany, Ohio.
Google Maps

More grim news for malls as women's apparel designer and retailer The Limited says it will close all its brick-and-mortar stores at the end of this weekend.

The U.S. added 156,000 jobs last month and hourly wages rose by 10 cents, according to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate was little changed; it ticked up slightly to 4.7 percent, compared to November's 4.6 percent.

Economists had been watching closely to see if the jobs report reflected a rise in wages.

Nicholas Eckhart / Flick Creative Commons

Macy's says it is eliminating more than 10,000 jobs and plans to move forward with 68 store closures, including two in the Columbus area, after a disappointing holiday shopping season.

Flickr

What will Ohio’s economy look like in 2017?  Governor Kasich warned last month that the state could go into recession in the new year.

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