The September jobs report released Friday morning by the U.S. Department of Labor showed the U.S. economy added 134,000 jobs during the month, while the unemployment rate fell to a new generational low of 3.7 percent, the lowest in 49 years. Rhonda Fannin, the director of workforce services at the Highland County Community Action Organization’s Ohio Means Jobs office said those low unemployment figures have helped boost the number of available jobs in the area.
“Within five miles of Hillsboro’s zip code, there are 150 jobs showing on the Ohio Means Jobs search engine,” she said. “When we expand it out to 20 miles, which pretty much encompasses all of Highland County, that number jumps to 936 employment opportunities.”
According the Ohio Department of Labor, the Buckeye State’s jobless rate was 4.5 percent. Highland County registered 5.3 percent, an improvement from previous months. Both Clinton and Brown counties were at 5.1 percent, and Adams County was at 6.7 percent. Fayette County had the lowest jobless numbers, coming in at 3.9 percent.
Earlier national estimates from Bloomberg forecasted non-farm payrolls rising by 185,000 in September, while the unemployment rate was expected to drop to 3.8 per cent.
Fannin told the Times-Gazette that the Jobs Ohio Network posts the latest employment trends to help job seekers see who the top employers are.
“Topping the list is sales and related occupations,” she said. “Second place is health care practitioners and technicians, and then rounding out the top three is transportation.”
She said keeping track of trends and the volume of job postings is important, since her office is also involved in training, and staffers want to make sure when an individual finishes a training program that there are ample jobs for them to apply for.
Fannin said Highland County has many people that cross county lines to go to work, so some of the job postings at the Hillsboro Ohio Means Jobs office may include employers in neighboring cities.
“Weastec is going to be having a hiring event at our Hi-Tec facility on Oct. 18,” she said. “Airborne Maintenance and Engineering has several entry-level positions in Wilmington, and Sugar Creek Packing in Washington Court House is holding open interviews every Tuesday and Thursday.”
The list of employers actively hiring includes the Mason Company in Leesburg, which is looking for welders and advanced manufacturing associates, and she said that Aviant in Greenfield and Candle-Lite in Leesburg are always taking applications.
“Some folks can’t wait for the new LaRosa’s to open,” she said. “They’re planning to open sometime later this month, and they are still accepting applications here, and training staff at their Mt. Orab location.”
Fannin praised the Highland County Commissioners for their efforts in recent years at bringing new business to the area, citing the arrival of Harbor Freight in Hillsboro and Corvac in Greenfield as examples.
“Our county commissioners work closely with the economic development office to bring in new companies and new jobs,” she said. “We have the three industrial parks in Highland County that are definitely ready for new business.”
In Friday’s report, wages were also being closely tracked, with Bloomberg indicating those numbers were in line with expectations. Average hourly earnings rose three-tenths of one percent over last month and 2.8 per cent over September 2017.
August’s job gains were also revised significantly higher in Friday’s report, with the bureau of labor statistics now estimating the economy created 270,000 jobs in August, 69,000 more than previously estimated. Over the last three months, job gains have averaged 190,000 per month.
Friday’s jobs report also showed that the broader under-employment rate, which counts those that are out of work as well as those working part-time but who want a full-time job, rose slightly to 7.5 per cent.
The labor force participation rate was unchanged last month at 62.7 per cent.