Negative Economic Report Downplayed By Locals

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The new report by the U.S. Department of Commerce uses 2006 figures to rank 363 U.S. metropolitan areas, and shows 85 percent of them improved their economic output.
Of those that showed decline, half are in the Great Lakes region, including several in Northeast Ohio.
Canton lost 2.5% of its gross domestic product, one of the worst performances in the nation, but far ahead of Detroit, which lost 4.3%.
Akron lost 1.2% of it's GDP, while Cleveland lost .02%.
Joe Roman of the Greater Cleveland Partnership downplays such declines, saying they're the result of a changing economy.

ROMAN: "It really is a great lakes issue, and as the economies in the Great Lakes move from traditonal manufacturing sectors to advanced manufacturing ....the dip really reflects a transistion that the economies are going through."

Sharon Panek is with the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which compiled the report. She agrees that manufacturing dragged down the overall numbers, particularly in what Cleveland contributes nationally.

PANEK: "It was about .9 percent of the U.S. and it's now about .86 % of the U.S. so there was a decline in its share of the U.S. metropolitan output."

Joe Roman says what the report doesn't show is regional gains made in the last 18 months, in fields like health care, bioscience and communications technology. And, he says, Cleveland remains one of only a few dozen communities that boasts more than 100 billion dollars in economic output.

Rick Jackson, 90.3.

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