The U.S. Labor Department has released its latest report on the economy saying the unemployment rate held at 3.8 percent, payrolls increased by 196,000 in the month of March, and that the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits dropped to levels not seen in nearly 50 years.
Rhonda Fannin, director of workforce services with Ohio Means Jobs Highland County, said the latest report pointed to continued growth in both the local and national economy.
“The Ohio Means Jobs website shows that there are nearly 146,000 employment opportunities in Ohio,” she said. “Here in Highland County, it shows 1,139 jobs available within 20 miles of the 45133 zip code, as well as 226 available within a five-mile radius of that zip code as well.”
Thursday’s jobs report indicated that there were notable job gains in the areas of health care and professional and technical services, she said, and in the region of Ohio that included Highland County, figures showed more than 8,000 jobs posted for the month of February, the most recent month available online.
The Ohio jobs summary showed 17 percent aligned with national trends of health care practitioners and technical occupations, 15 percent were that of sales and related occupations, with 12 percent rounding out the top third in the area of office and administrative support.
The remaining 54 percent of job trends were that of transportation and materials moving, food prep and service, management, health care support, installation maintenance and repair, production, building and ground cleaning, as well as general maintenance occupations.
According to Fannin, living in a rural area such as Highland County presented some unique challenges which she said blocks the path of many job seekers.
“Self-sufficiency standards are a constant struggle with many of our residents,” she said. “We find that many of those looking for work need something local due to the challenges of transportation and child care.”
The Ohio Means Jobs website can be a valuable tool, she said, in that it allows searches to be conducted by location, job title, key word, salary, educational level and other relevant information.
The government report indicated that the trend in hiring has slowed somewhat, but that overall job gains continue to remain well above the nearly 100,000 that are needed monthly to keep up with growth in the population of working-age Americans.
She said that local employers that are currently hiring include Highland County Department of Job and Family Services, D & P Electric, ResCare, Wilkin Heating and Air Conditioning, Cape May, Ferno-Washington, G & J Pepsi Cola Bottlers, Ohio Department of Public Safety, Airborne Maintenance and Engineering, Hood Packaging, Clinton Memorial Hospital and others.
Though the current unemployment rate remained at 3.8 percent, officials with the Federal Reserve estimate it could be at 3.7 percent or lower by the end of the year.
Current job openings can be viewed at www.omjhighlandcounty.com/category/jobs and at https://jobseeker.ohiomeansjobs.monster.com.
Fannin also reminded everyone of the Ohio In-Demand Jobs Week, with the 2019 Spring Job and Training Fair scheduled for Friday, May 10 from 1-3 p.m. at her office in the Hi-Tech Center at 1575 N. High St. in Hillsboro.
“Show up with a resume in hand and dressed for an interview,” she said. “Area employers have jobs to fill and they’re looking to hire immediately.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.