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Waymo opening new autonomous vehicle testing site in Ohio

This report is a summary of third-party economic research and perspectives to foster communication with business and economic development stakeholders during the COVID-19 crisis.

Sun Dec 04 2016

This report is a summary of third-party economic research and perspectives to foster communication with business and economic development stakeholders during the COVID-19 crisis.

Key Takeaways

  • Global: OECD expects global economy to return pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021.
  • U.S.: Goldman Sachs projects U.S. GDP will grow at a 5.3% pace in 2021.
  • Ohio: Waymo opening new autonomous vehicle testing site in Ohio.


The U.K. became the first western country to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, with its regulator clearing the  Pfizer-BioNTech shot ahead of decisions in the U.S. and EU. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development revised its economic outlook over the coming two years as it expects global real GDP to reach pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021 thanks to progress with vaccines and unprecedented government and global bank action. The updated forecast now expects the global economy to contract 4.2% this year and grow 4.2% in 2021. An additional 207M people could be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030, due to the severe long-term impact of the pandemic, bringing the total to more than a billion, according to UNDP.


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 245,000 in November, and the unemployment rate edged down to 6.7%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. First-time claims for unemployment benefits totaled 712,000 last week, compared to 787,000 a week earlier. The system for providing unemployment benefits to jobless workers has consistently produced inaccurate data and lower-than-appropriate payouts to millions of workers, accordingly to Government Accountability Office. Unemployment data might have overstated the health of the labor market as the U.S. labor force is 2.2% smaller than in February 2020.

JPMorgan sees an economic contraction in Q1 2021 due to the spreading coronavirus and related restrictions being imposed. Goldman Sachs projects U.S. GDP will grow at a 5.3% pace in 2021, ahead of the consensus around 4%. The Conference Board says U.S. economy will return to pre-pandemic levels in October 2021. On December 31, several novel Fed programs that have backed corporate credit and municipal-borrowing markets and provided loans to small and midsize businesses and nonprofits during the pandemic will end.

The November Manufacturing PMI registered 57.5%, down 1.8% from the October reading of 59.3%. The Conference Board’s reading on consumer confidence in November unexpectedly fell to 96.1 from a reading of 101.4 in October. Investment in the food technology space for the first three quarters of 2020 is $8.4B, which outpaced the $7B raised during all of 2019. General Electric warned employees that more job cuts are coming to the conglomerate’s jet-engine business because of the pandemic’s impact on commercial air travel.

McKinsey found that about three out of four people have tried a new shopping method due to the coronavirus and that more than half of all consumers intend to continue using curbside pickup and grocery-delivery services after the pandemic is over. Nearly 70% of consumers intend to continue buying online for store pickup. Road trip travel over Thanksgiving was down 35% from last year for the nation and down 52% for Ohio.

COVID-19 patients in hospitals passed 100,000 for the first time as medical facilities are expected to come under unprecedented stress this winter. Los Angeles issued one of the strictest stay-at-home orders in the country. COVID-19 vaccines awaiting regulatory approval will require ultra cold temperatures for shipping and storage, and makers of dry ice are bracing for a surge in demand. CVS Health and Walgreens are preparing to administer vaccines in upwards of 50,000 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities across the country.


The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book reported that the Cleveland district observed, “Economic activity increased moderately, and staff levels increased slightly. Firms connected to IT, housing, and consumer durables fared better than those connected to travel, energy, and hospitality. Supply chain constraints boosted transportation costs and prices for certain construction and manufacturing inputs. Contacts expected a modest improvement in activity, but hiring plans were restrained because of the pandemic’s uncertain path.”

Ohio is preparing to receive its first shipment of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines around December 15, and another shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna may ship by December 22.  Ohio State is well-positioned to help boost central Ohio economic development.  Ohio State President Kristina Johnson said the university is a force for research, innovation and entrepreneurship. She pointed to the nearly $1B in research expenditures in fiscal year 2020, which yielded 367 invention disclosures and 13 startups.  Brent Spence Bridge repairs halfway complete.

Positive Company-Specific News

  • Waymo will open a new testing site in Ohio for its driverless autonomous vehicles that will focus on dense, urban areas.
  • GE Aviation subsidiary plans new manufacturing plant on 53 acres in Beavercreek to consolidate 7-building campus into standalone complex.
  • Kroger reported Q3 2020 financials showing identical sales rose 10.9% from the prior year’s quarter and operating profit grew over $500M during the same period. Digital sales grew 108%.
  • The Timken Company was named one of America’s Most Responsible Companies on Newsweek’s 2021 edition.
  • M. Smucker Q2 fiscal 2021 results show 4% net sales increase reflecting growth in Retail Consumer Foods and Retail Coffee segments as COVID keeps consumers at home.
  • Quantum Health announced growth investment from Warburg Pincus and Great Hill Partners.
  • Olive, which developed an artificial intelligence workforce for the health care industry, closed $225.5M in financing to bring valuation to $1.5B.
  • Ericson Manufacturing debuted a proven safe workplace defense against pathogens including COVID-19 with the UV-C Perma-Kleen™ Cart (PKCART) system.
  • Advics Manufacturing is looking to hire over 100 new employees.
  • Root Insurance will be able to expand throughout all 50 states and Washington, D.C., after an acquisition.
  • Hollister announced a long-term partnership and initial $200,000 donation to The Academy Group, a non-profit providing educational and professional resources to resilient communities.
  • IdentifySensors Biologics developed a new technology for at-home COVID-19 testing which will go to the FDA for approval.

Negative Company-Specific News

  • Core Molding Technologies announced it will be closing its Batavia plant and permanently laying off 99 people beginning in March 2021. The company stated the decision was a result of a customer’s decision to relocate production away from Ohio.
  • Toledo Molding & Die will be closing its plant in Jefferson next February putting 89 people out of work. The company manufactures auto parts including molded components and other systems.
  • Express reported a loss of $90.3M for the fiscal third quarter 2020. Of note was a 30% decline in comparable sales attributed to continued steep declines in wear-to-work fashion. The company also reported that it had finished a 10% corporate workforce reduction.
  • The Cleveland Clinic has about 1,100 of its workers across the hospital system away from work due to COVID-19. The health system will postpone nonessential inpatient surgeries requiring a hospital bed through January 4.


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