Ups and downs

Ups to Cleveland State University. Its Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs ranked second in the nation in U.S. News and World Report‘s rankings of best graduate schools. Good news for a university trying to establish itself as more than simply a city school and attract out-of-state students.

Downs to Dairy Mart. The convenience store company’s on-again/off-again plans to close underperforming stores and its latest job cuts aimed at saving money appear to be desperate measures as the company awaits sale. It’s a shame considering that as early as a year-and-a-half ago, Robert Stein seemed to have the company back on the path to profitability.

Ups to Fifth Third Bank. A $100,000 donation to CSU’s Viking Venture Capital Fund helps students, alumni and faculty create new business opportunities and strengthen existing business ventures. With an ultimate goal of $1 million, the fund should be yet another feather in CSU’s hat.

Downs to U.S. productivity, which dropped for the first time in six years. Labor costs jumped by a 5.2 percent annual clip at the same time, the fastest pace in more than three years. That adds up to further problems on the horizon. Hang onto your hats, folks.