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What’s needed to prolong the economic recovery?

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester spoke last week at the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Third Quarter Middle Market Forum attended by more than 70 CEOs from GCP/COSE middle-market and small business investor companies.

In her remarks, Dr. Mester, a nonvoting member of the GCP Board of Directors, said that an increase in the federal funds rate is appropriate and would help prolong the economic recovery.

“The reason I believe a gradual upward path of policy continues to be appropriate and that I favored taking another step on that path in September is because of the realized progress the economy has made on our monetary policy goals and my expectation of further progress,” she said. “That expectation is based on my outlook for the economy.

“So today, I would like to discuss my outlook for both the national and regional economy and my views on monetary policy. Of course, these are my own views and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve System or my colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee.”

All forecasts carry risk

She noted that “All forecasts carry risk, and sometimes it is difficult to extract the signal about where the economy is headed from noisy economic and financial market data.

“With those usual caveats, my modal forecast is that over the next couple of years, the U.S. economy will expand at a pace at or slightly above its longer-run trend, which I estimate to be about 2 percent; that the unemployment rate will move further below its longer-run level, which I estimate to be about 5 percent; and that inflation will continue to gradually return to the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target.”

Outlook for the regional economy

Dr. Mester also provided a perspective of the regional economy. “The Cleveland District comprises all of Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia," she said. Our regional economy is quite diverse, but the path of economic expansion here and the outlook are similar to the nation’s. 

“To be sure, our region tends to be more dependent on manufacturing than other parts of the country. For example, manufacturing accounts for 15 percent of private-sector jobs in Ohio compared to about 10 percent in the U.S. as a whole. So the region has borne the brunt of the weakness in manufacturing.

“Similarly, the region had enjoyed the benefits of a sharp increase in production and employment in the oil and gas extraction sector as new technologies were brought to bear, but the sharp drop in oil prices since mid-2014 has resulted in a significant slowdown in natural gas and oil exploration in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions, which include northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

“The weakness in the energy sector is expected to persist somewhat longer, and the longer-term shift away from coal as a source of energy will have lasting effects on the coal-producing parts of the region that have not diversified their economies.4

“On the other hand, the region has benefited from the strength in auto sales, construction, and the service sector, including health and education. We are seeing a modest pickup in regional manufacturing, particularly in firms that are more focused on domestic markets and the auto sector…

“Housing markets in the region have shown improvement over time. During the housing boom, we didn’t see the sharp increases in home prices experienced in other parts of the country. But we did suffer from the housing bust with a large number of foreclosures and vacant properties. The situation has improved. “

Click here to read her remarks at the forum or view a video of her presentation.

Legislation important to the Great Lakes passed by U.S. House

The U.S. House of Representatives last week overwhelmingly passed its massive Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), a marine infrastructure bill with many provisions impacting the Great Lakes. The legislation was approved by a vote of 399-25.

It included an amendment by Congressman Dave Joyce (R-OH) reauthorizing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative—a key priority of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition (GLMCC) of which the Greater Cleveland Partnership is a member. The Initiative allocates funding to combat challenges to the Great Lakes ecosystem.

“WRDA is legislation that touches the Great Lakes in so many ways,” said GLMCC Executive Director Brad Williams. “The bill authorizes funding for dredging, marine infrastructure and Great Lakes environmental protections, which are priorities for all of us.”

The coalition also pushed for successful passage of a floor amendment by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), making permanent a temporary set-aside of Army Corps of Engineers Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund spending for the Great Lakes.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster’s (R-PA) bill included an authorization for the Upper Ohio River project, also a key priority for GLMCC.

The Senate has already passed its version of WRDA, setting up a conference committee later this year. Both the House and Senate will return after the election for a lame duck session that will address WRDA and other issues.

The Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition consists of nearly 40 chambers of commerce representing more than 150,000 businesses. It is dedicated to forging a strategic partnership between the Great Lakes and the federal government.

The coalition seeks to leverage the Great Lakes region’s historic strengths in manufacturing, research and innovation to maximize investment and job creation that will benefit the entire country.

International Economic Development Council holds
largest-ever conference in Cleveland

 Last week, Cleveland hosted the annual conference of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the world’s largest trade group serving the economic development profession.
The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP)’s Business Development team was part of the Host Committee that recruited and planned the conference.

With more than 1,600 attendees from 48 states and 13 countries, the Cleveland conference was the highest-attended IEDC event ever. Attendees were eager to learn from sessions and take advantage of tours that showcased some of our most exciting development projects and assets such as the Euclid/Health Tech Corridor, Flats East Bank, Lake Erie and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, Playhouse Square and more.

Speakers for the event included GCP Board member Dr. Toby Cosgrove, CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic (photo left), who was interviewed by GCP President and CEO Joe Roman (photo right) about emerging trends in medical services and technologies.

Ohio Governor John Kasich; U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown; Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish; NASA Glenn Center Director Janet Kavand and many local, national and international experts on economic development also addressed the conference.

IEDC is celebrating its 90th year of helping economic development professionals be more effective in promoting the development of their communities. The GCP is pleased to be part of the effort that brought a successful IEDC Conference to Cleveland to help improve the skills of economic development professionals and showcase our community’s economic development successes.

GCP and business development

The GCP Business Development Team meets with Northeast Ohio companies to determine business needs and uncover opportunities for development. To learn more about what we can assist your company, please contact us at 216.592.2208 or

Welcome, new GCP members

We’re pleased to welcome these companies and organizations that recently joined the ranks of Greater Cleveland Partnership Investors. Click the links below to learn more about them.

GCP honored for support of MC2STEM High School

The Greater Cleveland Partnership was among the honorees who received a Distinguished Partner Award at the Friends of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s MC2STEM High School’s Groundbreakers Gathering on September 24.

The event, held at the Cleveland State University Student Center, included opportunities to engage with alumni as well as presentation of the inaugural Partner Awards-Cleveland Foundation and the George Fund Foundation also were honored—and Distinguished Alumni Awards.

The school serves about 400 students who attend classes at campuses embedded in business and school sites around the city -- the Great Lakes Science Center, General Electric (GE) Lighting's Nela Park campus, Cleveland State University, and various college campuses.Above photo (left to right):
  • Jaime Irick, Chief Commercial Officer, Current, powered by GE and Friends of MC2 STEM Advisory Board Chair
  • Feowyn Mackinnon, Head of School, MC2 STEM High School
  • Helen Williams, Program Director for Education, The Cleveland Foundation
  • Andrea Vullo, Manager, Public Affairs, Current, powered by GE and Friends of MC2 STEM Advisory Board Chair
  • Ann Mullin, Senior Program Manager for Education, The George Gund Foundation
  • Shana Marbury, Vice President, General Counsel and Director, Strategic Initiatives, Greater Cleveland Partnership

Port of Cleveland workboats wrap up another successful year

This week, the Port of Cleveland’s tandem workboats, Flotsam and Jetsam, will complete another season making the Lake Erie and Cuyahoga River shorelines cleaner and healthier.

The workboats, paid for by the Port with a five-member seasonal crew from Downtown Cleveland Alliance's Clean and Safe Ambassador program, operate from May through early October.

Flotsam and Jetsam create a cleaner, safer water environment for all who use the harbor and river — from pleasure boaters and rowers to lakefront businesses, tourists, and local wildlife. Just through August of this year (the latest numbers available), the workboats have removed over 160,000 pounds of debris from the water, including over 800 tree logs, trunks, or large limbs.

Since first launching in 2012, the workboats have pulled well over one million pounds of debris from the Cuyahoga River ship channel and North Coast Harbor. That debris can include anything from plastic beverage containers by the thousands to large logs and branches, to tires and even a derelict floating dock, said Jim White, the Port’s director of Sustainable Infrastructure Programs.

White the largest portion of items the boats pick up consists of beverage containers, and urged people to be mindful of disposing of cups and bottles so they don’t end up washing into the river.

This year, Flotsam and Jetsam also played a key role in making the shoreline shine before and during the Republican National Convention. In addition, Flotsam and Jetsam provide tours to government officials and key partners to help inform them on restoration efforts and the need to keep focus on protecting our great lake and river.

Originally funded with support from the U.S. E.P.A.’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the boats take their names from marine terms for different types of debris. Flotsam floats off sinking vessels or falls into the water (e.g., trees branches) and jetsam includes items thrown into the water by people.

“The Port of Cleveland’s workboats play a key role in restoring and maintaining the health and accessibility of local waterways and shorelines,” said Port President and CEO Will Friedman.

“As we wrap up another successful season, we look forward to many more years of helping to keep our waters safe, clean, and attractive.”