ECONOMY

Ohio city that became 'poster child' for the recession climbing an uphill road back

  • FILE - In this June 5, 2008 file photo, a sign hangs outside a bookstore in downtown Wilmington, Ohio When DHL switched its ground sorting and handling to UPS in 2008, the area lost about 7,000 ABX Air and ASTAR Air Cargo jobs at the Wilmington Air Park. Ohio governor John Kasich will spotlight the slowly rebounding city by delivering his State of the State address there Feb. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)

    FILE - In this June 5, 2008 file photo, a sign hangs outside a bookstore in downtown Wilmington, Ohio When DHL switched its ground sorting and handling to UPS in 2008, the area lost about 7,000 ABX Air and ASTAR Air Cargo jobs at the Wilmington Air Park. Ohio governor John Kasich will spotlight the slowly rebounding city by delivering his State of the State address there Feb. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2009 file photo, Residents of Wilmington, Ohio carry free boxes of food and personal care products provided by the relief organization Feed the Children. As what would become the Great Recession was pounding the country, thousands of workers were left jobless with the departure of express carrier, DHL, from the Wilmington Air Park. Ohio governor John Kasich will spotlight the slowly rebounding city by delivering his State of the State address there Feb. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Skip Peterson)

    FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2009 file photo, Residents of Wilmington, Ohio carry free boxes of food and personal care products provided by the relief organization Feed the Children. As what would become the Great Recession was pounding the country, thousands of workers were left jobless with the departure of express carrier, DHL, from the Wilmington Air Park. Ohio governor John Kasich will spotlight the slowly rebounding city by delivering his State of the State address there Feb. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Skip Peterson)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this In this Aug. 28, 2009, file photo, Michael O'Machearley talks about the economy in his workshop in Wilmington, Ohio. O'Machearley, a former employee of ABX Air, was now making custom knives for his living, 15 months since air cargo shipper DHL Express announced it was pulling out of this southwest Ohio city, a move that resulted in the layoff of thousands of employees. (AP Photo/Skip Peterson, File)

    FILE - In this In this Aug. 28, 2009, file photo, Michael O'Machearley talks about the economy in his workshop in Wilmington, Ohio. O'Machearley, a former employee of ABX Air, was now making custom knives for his living, 15 months since air cargo shipper DHL Express announced it was pulling out of this southwest Ohio city, a move that resulted in the layoff of thousands of employees. (AP Photo/Skip Peterson, File)  (The Associated Press)

The loss of its major employer during the Great Recession put the southwest Ohio city of Wilmington in the national spotlight.

Now the community that was dubbed "ground zero" of the recession and drew help from celebrities such as Rachael Ray and Jay Leno hopes to be known as a comeback city.

There are some positive signs, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) will help spotlight them when he returns Feb. 24 to deliver his State of the State address. Unemployment that topped 19 percent at its worst five years ago has fallen steadily, to below 6 percent.

Total jobs remain well below pre-recession numbers, and household incomes are down and poverty levels are up.

But the mayor says Wilmington can be like "the phoenix rising from the ashes."