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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 Economic Insights

  • Global: Fifteen new manufacturing sites – including Procter & Gamble in Lima, Ohio – joined the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse Network as leaders in applying Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to achieve profitable growth without increasing their environmental footprint.
  • U.S.: The Federal Reserve is projecting 6.5% real GDP growth in 2021.
  • Ohio: Ohio’s unemployment rate for February 2021 was 5.0%. Ohio placed #6 in “Taxpayer Return on Investment (ROI).”

 

Global Insights
More than 500 million doses of COVID vaccine have been administrated across 132 countries as the biggest vaccination campaign in history continues.  The OECD predicts that global GDP will grow by 5.6% in 2021 and continue the recovery with 4% growth in 2022.  Fitch Ratings expects global GDP to expand by 6.1% this year, revised up from 5.3% in December 2020 Global Economic Outlook.  Canadian Pacific Railway agreed to acquire Kansas City Southern in a transaction valued at about $25B that would create the first freight-rail network linking Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. The combination, which faces a lengthy regulatory review, is a long-term wager on an interconnected North American economy.  The Suez Canal could reportedly remain blocked by a grounded container ship for “weeks”, which has raised concerns of a significant distribution to global trade.

U.S. Insights

The Federal Reserve revised their real GDP growth forecast to 6.5%, up from 4.2% predicted in December as it has seen brightening in the jobs market.  Goldman Sachs raised GDP growth expectations to 8% for 2021.  Unemployment is now expected to fall to 4.5% by year’s end.  Inflation expectations could become ‘self-fulfilling prophecy,’ BMO Capital says.

Worker filings for unemployment benefits fell to 684,000 last week from 781,000 a week earlier.  Claims are now at the lowest point since mid-March of last year.  They are also below the pre-pandemic high of 695,000, a threshold not crossed for 52 weeks.  The latest consumer spending data from Facteus through the week ending March 21 shows impact on spending in the U.S. with a 155% growth compared to 2020, and a 21% growth compared with 2019 growth in spending occurred in the retail segment, where most stores saw a greater than 50% growth compared with 2019 figures.  The U.S. corporate bankruptcy tally grew by 31 in early March after February registered 34 for the total month.  So far in 2021, the bankruptcy tally sits at 112 according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, trailing figures from a year ago when 129 bankruptcies had occurred.

New Jersey will likely pause its reopening plans as COVID-19 cases begin to rise again, Gov. Murphy said.  President Biden’s administration is aggressively pursuing transportation electrification not just because of its potential to curb greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change, but also to prevent China from cornering a bourgeoning $23T market in carbon-reducing technologies.  The U.S. government is working to help American miners and battery makers expand into Canada, part of a strategy to boost regional production of minerals used to make electric vehicles and counter Chinese dominance.  LG Chem and rival SK Innovation continue a long-running legal dispute over intellectual property and access to the growing U.S. electric vehicle market.

The number of U.S. air passengers screened topped 1.5M for the first time since March 2020, as air travel continues to rebound.  Airlines and other tourism-related businesses are pushing The White House to create a plan to boost travel and eliminate restrictions.  More than two dozen groups have made their request to allow vaccinated individuals to be exempt from testing requirements and formalize a CDC statement on the matter. Amid a global shortage of semiconductors Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger committed to spending billions to expand.

Ohio Employment & Economic Insights

Ohio’s unemployment rate for February 2021 was 5.0%. Ohio’s annualized GDP growth rate was 5.0% for 2020Q4 and ­-4.0% for the whole year.  Ohio is ranked #6 in U.S. News best states for opportunity rankings and #1 in affordability. Ohio ranked as the sixth-best state in the nation in taxpayer return on investment, according to a WalletHub study on the Best & Worst Taxpayer Return on Investment in 2021.

One out of every four Ohioans has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Wednesday this week, according to the latest data from the Ohio Department of Health.  Over 70% of people aged 70-74 have received at least one dose, the highest of any age cohort.  Governor DeWine also announced this week that unfilled vaccine appointments will now be open to everyone aged 16 or older, stating that it was not a change in policy but an “exception” that allows providers to administer vaccines that may otherwise expire.

 

Positive Company-Specific News Negative Company-Specific News
Positive Company-Specific News

  • Tata Consultancy Services will increase operations in Ohio by hiring more than 800 new employees and invest more than $518M in Ohio.
  • Amazon announced it is hiring for hundreds of positions between two of its Northwest Ohio fulfillment centers.
  • Olive AI announced plans to double its workforce this year, about 600 workers, after already tripling in size since the start of the pandemic.
  • KyotoCooling, a leading provider of water-free cooling technology for data centers around the world, has opened a new manufacturing facility in Norton, and is bringing 100 new jobs to the region.
  • Ease Logistics has acquired a 20,000 square foot office and warehouse in Dublin as it seeks to double its workforce over the next six years.
  • Another Silicon Valley fintech startup has opened a second headquarters in Columbus with Huckleberry Insurance Services LLC having a “handful” of its 40 employees working remotely now in Columbus.
  • Upstart Holdings, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) lending platform, announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Prodigy Software, a provider of cloud-based automotive retail software.
  • American Electric Power has released its Climate Scenario Analysis, a report that examines the impacts of climate change on the company’s operations, as well as the potential implications of the transition to a clean energy economy.
  • Worthington Industries released positive earnings figures showing gross profit increased from $49M to $164M year over year, and net earnings were up over $50M.
  • The Fifth Third Foundation announced the recipients of $1.2M in grants for black, woman-owned businesses through its Innovation Meets Main Street: Boosting Black, Woman-owned businesses program.
  • Goodyear Tire announced it new Complete Tire Management tools have inspected nearly 4M tires and identified nearly 400,000 issues in one year.
  • Rex American Resources posted strong Q4 2020 results with revenue up $6M for the quarter, and gross profit up as well.
Negative Company-Specific News

  • UAW Accuses Ford of Shifting New Vehicle Production from Ohio to Mexico.
  • Honda temporarily cutting production at all U.S. & Canadian plants for a week as it struggles with supply chain issues from the pandemic, congestion, and the ongoing microchip shortage.
  • Lordstown Motors reported a quarterly loss as well as disclosing a probe by security regulators as the company seeks to have its first pickups on the market by September.
  • O-I Glass was dropped from the S&P SmallCap 400 and moved to the SmallCap 600 following a period of below market cap range.
  • Bridgestone Americas agreed to pay $1.49M toward the cleanup of Superfund waste sites in Alliance and Ravenna where the EPA removed possibly toxic materials from 2016 to 2019.
  • Root and some of its executives are facing a class-action lawsuit related to the company’s IPO.

 

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