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Published: Monday, 6/28/2010

Doomsayers disputed

A certain portion of the population responds to every hike in a city fee or reduction in a city service by saying: See! It's no wonder people are leaving Toledo in droves.

Problem is, they're not.

According to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Toledo lost fewer than 500 residents between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009. That's hardly a flood, and it's better than how Akron, Dayton, or Cleveland fared over the same period.

At the same time, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reports that in May, unemployment dropped in Toledo, Lucas County, and all of northwest Ohio compared to the year before.

This despite the jobless rates for Ohio and the nation remaining higher than they were in May, 2009.

Neither of these reports was anything to get too excited about. Until 2005, Toledo's population had been on the rise, and unemployment rates in the city and county remain stubbornly in double digits.

Still, doomsayers are wrong to suggest people are abandoning Toledo like rats leaving a sinking ship. Most people here understand the causes of the city's fiscal problems and realize that Toledo is no different from scores of other American cities having to make do with declining revenues.

They also recognize, even if they don't like, the need for layoffs, service reductions, and other belt-tightening measures.

And Toledoans trust that the recession, while deep, will not last forever. Indeed, that faith has been borne out by recent unemployment figures and other economic indicators for the region and the nation that suggest northwest Ohio may be reaching the end of an admittedly long, dark economic tunnel.

In the final analysis, Toledoans are both optimistic and resilient. There are no glass jaws in the Glass City.

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