Center for Economic Development

COVID-19 Relief Research

Economic Development Administration
The US Economic Development Administration is supporting the Center for Economic Development’s work on responding to economic injury on the local and regional economies in Ohio resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding is provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act University Center Supplemental Disaster Recovery and Resiliency Awards.*

This two-year project consists of three types of activities:

  • Technical Assistance – Providing technical assistance to entrepreneurs, businesses, and communities to assist in their economic recovery efforts from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic

    If you are a regional economic development, workforce development, or planning agency in need of technical assistance, please feel free to contact us.
  • Applied Research – Conducting, sharing, and disseminating applied research to address specific challenges, meet particular needs, or solve specific problems in Northeast Ohio and the state of Ohio
  • Workforce Development – Assisting communities in identifying, defining, and supporting their workforce talent, including through the creation of skill development and workforce training programs, professional and leadership development, and core business training

Economic Impact of COVID-19 in Ohio
Outcomes in Agriculture from one of the largest stimulus programs in U.S. History

The Center for Economic Development published a research paper analyzing the U.S. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provided loans to support small businesses during the onset of COVID-19. Loan disbursement was a challenge, with some businesses receiving timely relief, and some entirely unable to acquire assistance. Production agricul¬ture received over 600,000 PPP loans totaling $17 billion, reaching 80% of U.S. zip codes. The most recent data and interviews with PPP recipients reveal both challenges and opportunities for agricultural businesses.

Economic Impact of COVID-19 in Ohio
Researching the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Ohio’s economy

With the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, many states enacted sweeping “stay-at-home” orders. Ohio was no exception, with theirs going into effect earlier than many other states on March 23, 2020. The resulting employment change was dynamic and far-reaching. Overnight many moved to remote work, others were furloughed, and some lost employment altogether. Consumption behaviors changed drastically as well. Spending on entertainment dropped, while groceries and online shopping rose precipitously. Until now, much of this information and data was anecdotal or assumed. This research brief seeks to understand and bring to light the various economic trends in Ohio caused by COVID-19, assessing jobs lost during the pandemic, and any positive economic effects from federal assistance.

Moving Cleveland Above the Trend - New Residential Centers
Learning lessons from top-performing New Residential Centers

Northeast Ohio (NEO) has consistently lost population over the past several decades. This brief focuses on what New Residential Centers (Sunbelt and other metros that have seen recent population growth) are doing to attract population to inform what NEO can possibly do to reverse this trend. Investigating what makes New Residential Centers so desirable is imperative to understanding what residents want and need from their cities and regions today. Some of the attraction is simply unattainable, for example, NEO cannot compete with the Sunbelt on climate. But we can compete in other areas, offering rich cultural amenities and affordability, to name a few. The COVID-19 pandemic has also changed how many individuals and families view their residence and interact with their workspaces, relatives, and friends; perhaps NEO can benefit from this too? Read our research brief to find out.

Research methods to advance minority entrepreneurship In this episode of the Levin Podcast series, Dr. Merissa Piazza, Program Manager for the Center for Economic Development, discusses how Northeast Ohio can incubate, accelerate, and advance minority entrepreneurship. The podcast is also available via Spotify.

Entrepreneurship Policy
Attainable & aspirational metros can guide Cleveland’s path forward

The Northeast Ohio region (NEO) has long sought to follow in the footsteps of the metropolitan areas (metros) that have managed to create successful entrepreneurial ecosystems. This brief focuses on attainable and aspirational metros that NEO can look to learn from. Taking a deep dive into how attainable regions (e.g. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee, & St. Louis) and aspirational regions (e.g. Eugene, OR, & Colorado Springs, CO) attract, incubate, and accelerate entrepreneurial ventures in all stages, helps inform a new path forward for NEO.

Ohio Economic Vitality Index: Mapping Ohio's 88 Counties
Mapping the vitality of Ohio counties pre-pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused economic hardship for millions of Americans. This research maps the vitality of all 88 Ohio counties in 2019, before the pandemic. Mapping the vitality of Ohio’s counties pre-pandemic is the first step in understanding the true scope and scale of the unprecedented contraction in economic activity seen during the pandemic. This project’s selection of interactive maps set the baseline to be compared with future datasets to provide a full picture of areas experiencing economic duress and success. View full methodology, sources, and a table displaying all 88 Ohio counties and their scores across six variables.

Pandemic Related Business Assistance
Business assistance programs in response to COVID-19

The pandemic has harmed individuals, households, and businesses at an unprecedented level. To assist with unemployment, the closing or suspension of business operations, a drastic reduction in the production capacity, and a significant reduction of disposable household income, local, state, and federal governments have passed numerous legislation and policy initiatives. This research brief compiles and illustrates the many avenues of assistance currently available in Ohio and the Cleveland that is designed to aid businesses, households, and nonprofits.

Navigating Government Statistics of Small Businesses for Pandemic Assistance
Small business; big impact

Small businesses play a substantial role in the Northeast Ohio economy, making up the largest source of employment for the region. During the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions and general uncertainty have led to many small businesses closing, some of them permanently. This research brief provides data from multiple sources of government statistics on small businesses by sector, size, and legal form. The research seeks to inform public policymakers on where to accurately distribute economic assistance across the region.

Housing programs in response to COVID-19
Housing programs in response to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had many negative impacts beyond the first-round effects of health; among these, one of the most damaging results seen is housing instability due to economic hardship. The Center for Economic Development has published a brief compiling the local, state, and federal programs introduced to provide housing assistance throughout the past year. This brief organizes each major housing program in a timeline of release date and is designed to support regional practitioners in better understanding options available to their residents. Please stay tuned for the updates to this timeline.

Moving Cleveland Above the Trend
Attracting innovation and talent to the Cleveland region

How can Cleveland and Northeast Ohio improve their regional economies? This research brief builds on the report that quantitatively compares Cleveland to growing mid-sized regions to identify their regional assets, policy, and other factors that contribute to their success. Five primary factors were found as influencers of regional economies. 1) Innovation and Talent, 2) Entrepreneurship in High-Cost Areas, 3) New Residential Centers, 4) Retirement Destinations, and 5) Polarization. The research brief explores public policies and programs that attract innovative companies and talent to metro areas building their knowledge-based economies more successfully than Cleveland. The pandemic has created a new dynamic in the movement and mobility of talent – those that are newly mobile because they no longer have jobs, recent college graduates, and immigrants. When the pull of locating in Silicon Valley or New York City no longer holds the same weight for prospective talent, and decisions on where to locate can be broadened to include working from anywhere, places like Cleveland can be an attractive location. The development of physical space to coalesce innovation around in a metro area still holds promise; however, Cleveland should also be pursuing the opportunities to attract talent that can live and work anywhere.

Fairlawn GIG Expansion Proposal
FairlawnGig potential expansion project

FairlawnGig is a municipal broadband provider in Fairlawn, Ohio, that supplies ultra-fast, reliable, and competitively priced fiber internet to the residents and businesses of Fairlawn in Summit County. Since its introduction in 2018, FairlawnGig has seen continued success and they are now looking to expand its service area. While internet connectivity has most often been viewed as an economic benefit, COVID-19 has taught us that better connectivity provides many social benefits as well. The Center provided technical assistance to Summit County by conducting an economic impact study on the potential number of jobs and the additional economic impact in labor income, output, and taxes this proposed project may generate.

Jobless Pandemic
The unspoken pandemic: Layoffs

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t only taken lives, it has also taken many peoples’ livelihoods. Our report, Jobless Pandemic: Geography of Layoffs and Opportunity Zones, examines how extensive the toll has been on the Northeast Ohio job market. Our researchers found that more than 19,000 layoffs were reported from January to August of 2020 by larger employers; these numbers undoubtedly do not account for the additional thousands of workers laid off by small- and medium-sized employers not required to provide notice. The vast majority (96%) of layoffs occurred after the stay-at-home order was instated. Overall, 91% of the layoffs reported since late March were attributed to the pandemic according to the companies’ notices. March and April had the most COVID-19 related layoffs with 6,190 and 5,129 layoffs, respectively. Following these losses, the monthly layoffs dropped below 2,000; during August, only 309 lost jobs were reported, which may be a sign of the beginning of stabilization in the region.

Small business technical assistance
Small business technical assistance

The CSU Small Business Development Center housed within the Monte Ahuja College of Business has received funding from the US Small Business Administration to assist small businesses in Northeast Ohio with Covid recovery. The Center for Economic Development has partnered with the SBDC to aid in these efforts. For more information see their website.

The Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State is Available to Assist

Dear Colleagues,

Amid continued concerns about health and wellbeing, millions of Americans have faced economic hardship since the beginning of the global pandemic. After experiencing the longest economic expansion in history, the United States has entered an unprecedented contraction in economic growth in modern times.

Employers, big and small, in every sector of the economy have been forced to make difficult decisions over the past year. In this time of continued difficulty, we would like to assure regional stakeholders that the Center for Economic Development within the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University is here to help.

We invite employers, regional development agencies, and local governments to contact us if you need assistance. We can help with data collection, grant applications, business and resident surveys, and overall economic development strategy.

With the beginning stages of a vaccine now rolling out, we are faced with challenges on how best to successfully recover without leaving the under-privileged behind. Please do not hesitate to reach out; our Center is ready to help wherever possible.

Sincerely & best of health,

Iryna V. Lendel
Research Associate Professor
Director | Center for Economic Development
Levin College of Urban Affairs | Cleveland State University | Tel: 216.875.9967

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*These reports were prepared by the Center for Economic Development using Federal funds under award ED20CHI3070034 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.