According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio’s unemployment rate is 7.4 ranking the state at 46 out of 51. The Cincinnati-Middletown metropolitan area (which includes adjacent parts of Kentucky and Indiana) rate is slightly better at 6.3 ranking the area at 226 out of 369. These figures do not include the impending losses from DHL and associated businesses. Over the last 7 years Ohio lost 236,000 manufacturing positions (according to Workers World.org). Some African-American neighborhoods in Cleveland have adult unemployment at well over 50 percent. These are some of the same areas most severely impacted by the foreclosure crisis.
I see the current economic situation creating a very unsafe situation for our communities. As more and more people lose jobs and their homes, desperation and hopelessness could become rampant. Violent crimes will likely rise as more people become frustrated and take out their emotions in violent acts. Others will resort to robbery in order to survive. Worse, others may feel their communities are becoming too unsafe and will leave. An exodus of the disenfranchised could further deteriorate an already weakened economic situation here in the Cincinnati area.
A surprising glimmer of hope comes from the energy crisis. Smart cars are becoming more popular and rumors are that Toyota may locate their plant here in Ohio. Pursuing alternative fuel and transportation is good both for environmental reasons as well as reducing our dependence on foreign energy sources. Now if they could only make a Smart Car that someone 6’3” or taller can fit into. Oh well, maybe its time to take up yoga!