Ohio sheds nearly 6K jobs in April

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 9:43 AM
Updated: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 10:05 AM

            Construction continued late last year on Dayton Children’s Hospital’s new eight-story, 260,000 square-foot patient tower, which is scheduled to be completed in June. Ohio construction firms shed 7,400 jobs last month, according to the most recent figures from the state jobs department. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Ohio’s unemployment rate edged down to 5 percent in April from 5.1 percent in March even as employers statewide eliminated 5,700 jobs over the same period, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services announced Friday.

RELATED: Many Ohioans still struggling despite low unemployment

The biggest job losses were in construction and manufacturing, which last month shed 7,400 and 5,800 jobs, respectively, according to the jobs report. The losses offset gains in professional and business services (+6,100), and leisure and hospitality (+5,000).

Jon Keeling, a spokesman for the state jobs department, attributed the loss of construction jobs to seasonal adjustments “since it seems most construction workers were hired earlier this year.” Since December 2016, construction jobs are up by 8,200, Keeling noted.

The decrease in the manufacturing sector was largely the result of temporary layoffs by Chrysler as they shift production of the Jeep Cherokee out of Toledo to make room for the next generation Jeep Wrangler, Keeling said. Chrysler has indicated all of those jobs will return.

RELATED: Jobless rates jump in every Ohio county

Overall, 288,000 Ohioans were unemployed in April, down 5,000 from 293,000 in March, according to the report, which showed the number of unemployed has increased by 5,000 in the past 12 months from 283,000.

At the same time, Ohio’s labor force — or the number of people working or actively seeking jobs — grew by 21,000, pushing the state’s labor force participation rate to 63.1 percent — slightly above the national rate of 62.9 percent in April.

“Workers enter the labor force when they have confidence in the economy, and Ohio’s labor force has been surging over the past year,” Keeling said, noting Ohio’s labor force has grown by 76,000 over the past 12 months.

The U.S. labor force grew by 12,000 last month as the national unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent, down from 4.5 percent in March.

Recall issued for hummus sold at Walmart

Published: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 11:23 PM

Marketside Classic Hummus with Pine Nuts is among the House of Thaller hummus products being recalled because of possible contamination.

Multiple brands of hummus sold at Walmart and other stores have been recalled because of potential contamination.

>> Read more trending news

An announcement from the Knoxville, Tennessee, based company House of Thaller says it is recalling packages of Hummus with Pine Nut Topping “because an ingredient supplier notified us that their ingredient has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.”

The announcement has been posted on the FDA website since June 19 as a public service. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of listeria infection include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, fever and muscle aches. 

The affected products were sent to multiple grocery stories, such as Target, Kroger, Walmart, Fred Meyer and others, from April 18, 2017 to June 13, 2017. Products include Fresh Foods Market’s Artisan Hummus - Pine Nuts; Lantana brand White Bean Hummus with Pine Nut & Herb Topping; and Marketside Classic Hummus with Pine Nuts.

Each product comes in clear, round plastic 10-ounce cups. 

No illnesses have been reported in relation to the recall.

Customers who have the products listed should not eat them and contact the House of Thaller Customer Service Center Monday through Friday at 855-215-5142.

The full list of products, including photos of the affected products and expiration dates and lot codes for each, are at the FDA website.

Denver restaurant charging customers 'livable wage' surcharge

Published: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 5:51 PM

File photo of a restaurant kitchen staff.
Sam Edwards/Getty Images/Caiaimage

Customers at Duo Restaurant in Denver have mainly been supportive of the new surcharge appearing on their bills.

Restaurant owner Keith Arnold told Denver7 that the surcharge is designed to address the wage gap between the servers and the kitchen staff. Servers can make 50 to 100 percent more than kitchen staff, Arnold said.

>> Read more trending news

The 2 percent surcharge is applied to all bills, and 100 percent of the proceeds go to the kitchen staff, Denver7 reported.

Customers have mainly given positive feedback about the surcharge, Arnold said. 

Duo's chef hopes the surcharge catches on nationwide.

Despite low inventory, Dayton home sales heat up ‘smoking hot’ market

Published: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 5:16 PM

            A house lined with trees is for sale on quiet, residential Ridgeway Road in Oakwood. KARA DRISCOLL/STAFF

More Dayton area homes were sold in May than any single month in the past decade in what real estate agents are calling a “smoking hot” market.

Sales of single-family homes and condominiums reported in May by the Dayton Area Board of Realtors totaled 1,626, an increase from the 1,316 sales reported in April and four percent higher than May 2016. Though the market has a tight inventory of houses available in the market, it hasn’t stopped a steady increase in real estate business.

“(Sales) are off the charts,” said Herman Castro, an agent with Irongate Realtors in Springboro. “It’s probably the best it’s been in the past 10 years.”

The previous high for a month was 1,576 sold in the Miami Valley in June 2015.

» HOT MARKET: New home construction rebounds in this area

Castro said the shortage of inventory is causing the market to be ever-competitive — a house will go on the market and will have multiple offers in five to seven days on average. Specifically, houses priced within the $70,000 to $300,000 range are doing particularly well. Once the prices go higher, they have less offers,

May’s median sales price was $133,950, slightly above last May by just less than one percent. The average price of $157,488, meanwhile, was four percent better than last year.

For the first five months of 2017, there were 6,023 sales reported, a 4.4 percent rise from 2016 when 5,765 transactions occurred over the same period, according to the Dayton Area Board of Realtors.

Will the trend last? Castro seems to think it will stick around for now but “every good thing comes to an end,” he said. Realtors struggled to sell houses across the U.S. when the Great Recession hit back in 2008 and the housing market came to a devastating halt in transactions.

» RELATED: Home sales continue hot streak in Dayton market

“We’re making hay while we can,” he said. “My staff was just saying how many sales are pending — we’ve got 30 pending sales right now. We’ve got $7.5 million in homes pending to close in the next 45 days. That used to be what you do in a year.”

In the Dayton area, there were 2,173 new listings added in May, up 3 percent from last year’s 2,108, while year-to-date listings tallied 8,960, a 4-percent decrease from the 9,343 submitted through May 2016.

Dayton’s market mimics national trends. Existing-home sales rebounded in May following a decline in April, and low inventory levels helped propel the median sales price to a new high while pushing down the median days a home is on the market to a new low, according to the National Association of Realtors.

» RELATED: Homearama highlights surge in residential development

Total home sales across the U.S. climbed 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.62 million in May from 5.56 million in April. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said sales activity expanded in May as more buyers overcame the increasingly challenging market conditions prevalent in many areas.

“The job market in most of the country is healthy and the recent downward trend in mortgage rates continues to keep buyer interest at a robust level,” he said. “Those able to close on a home last month are probably feeling both happy and relieved. Listings in the affordable price range are scarce, homes are coming off the market at an extremely fast pace and the prevalence of multiple offers in some markets are pushing prices higher.”

In Dayton, buyers should snag up a house quickly if they want it — because it won’t sit on the market long, said Karen O’Grady, DABR president.

O’Grady expects the market to continue to do well, as buyers take advantage of low interest rates and a solid economy. Her advice to buyers? Don’t wait around, because the dream home will be gone tomorrow.

“If you’re a buyer and you see a house you like, then make the offer on it today,” she said.

Fuyao chairman takes aim at New York Times, media

Published: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 5:00 PM

Cho Tak Wong, chairman, Fuyao Glass Industry Group Co. LTD., left, on a visit to Fuyao Glass America in Moraine. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

The chairman of Fuyao Glass Industry Group is dismissing reports that his Moraine-based American company is experiencing labor tensions.

“The New York Times failed to tell the truth about Fuyao, but what I am surprised about is that Chinese domestic media also followed suit,” Chinese industrialist Cho Tak Wong wrote in what the Chinese publication Global Times called an “exclusive article” this week.

RELATEDOSHA levies new safety allegations against Fuyao

Cho Tak Wong — also called Cao Dewang — is the founder and chairman of Fuyao. Since 2014, when he bought a former auto assembly plant in Moraine, he has created there what company leaders say is the world’s largest automotive glass factory, with about 2,000 employees. That company is Fuyao Glass America.

In a story published June 10, the New York Times wrote of a “culture clash” at the Moraine plant. For months, the United Auto Workers has collected workers’ signatures in a sustained bid to hold a union representation election at the factory.

“At Fuyao, a major culture clash is playing out on the factory floor, with some workers questioning the company’s commitment to operating under American supervision and American norms,” the Times wrote.

RELATEDFuyao Glass leaders skeptical of union support

The Global Times wrote that the Fuyao chairman “claimed that about 30 percent to 40 percent of the interview content” with the New York Times was untruthful.

Cho also apparently faulted Chinese media.

“I’m so surprised that Chinese media used fake headlines to lure readers,” Cho is quoted as saying.

Cho “said that he has no objection to the presence of the U.S. union, which reflects the local culture,” the Global Times wrote in the story published Tuesday. “He said that he has 20 years of experience in investing in the U.S. and his firm has good relations with the union.”

“He also said his company has talked with local officials in Ohio and that the state government supports (Cho) in letting people know the truth.”

This news outlet reported Tuesday that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Cincinnati-area office has again cited Fuyao Glass America for alleged safety violations at the Moraine plant, proposing $37,843 in fines.

And Fuyao’s environmental health and safety manager, John Crane, is no longer with the company, according to both Fuyao and Ken Montgomery, director of the Cincinnati-area OSHA office.