Ohio’s Job Picture, A Fair View

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The U.S. Labor Department has released new jobless figures for major metropolitan areas. It pegs Columbus' unemployment rate at 8.2 percent. As the jobless rate remains stubbornly high, The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services for the first time is hosting private companies in its booth at the State Fair.(Photo: Ally Marotti / WOSU)
The U.S. Labor Department has released new jobless figures for major metropolitan areas. It pegs Columbus' unemployment rate at 8.2 percent. As the jobless rate remains stubbornly high, The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services for the first time is hosting private companies in its booth at the State Fair.(Photo: Ally Marotti / WOSU)

The U.S. Labor Department has released new jobless figures for major metropolitan areas. It pegs Columbus’ unemployment rate at 8.2 percent. As the jobless rate remains stubbornly high, The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services for the first time is hosting private companies in its booth at the State Fair. And the companies like Kelly Services and DoGood Healthcare have jobs to offer appplicants. Department spokeswoman Angela Terez said its part of an effort to build Ohio’s job base.

“Its a great idea. I mean we’re here, People need jobs. Employers need workers,” Terez said. “So it’s a perfect venue to connect them.”

Last month Ohio’s jobless rate inched up again. Terez cautions against reading too much into the most recent job figures saying Ohio is enduring a “long, slow, recovery.” On the midway at the State Fair, Kelly Restler of Wayne County had a similar assessment.

“Its still not picking up like the rest of the country,” Restler said. “I don’t see Ohio’s job market recuperating like the rest of the U.S.”

Restler works as an accountant in a small town near Wooster. She said she has especially noticed a change in behavior among banks.

“I think our banking industry is restricting our ability to expand businesses. So, they’re not loaning money,” she said. “And, the businesses can’t expand and the jobs are going other places.”

Seventeen-year-old Julie Wagner of Marion County is working for her family’s business at the State Fair this year. She considers herself lucky because so few of her friends can find their first jobs.

“Our jobs are becoming rarer and rarer for people to find,” Wagner said. “It just seems like everybody, if they’re out of a job, it’s harder and harder to find one.”

And Wagner said she’s noticed something else: competition for the jobs that are available has grown more intense. More older adults are looking for jobs that, in the past, might be filled by teens and younger adults.

“I do know a lot of people who, they can’t find jobs my age. And its just because older people have to take their jobs,” she said. “So its harder and harder for them to find them.”

A little further down the Midway, Tony Dials of Canal Winchester stops to offer his assessment of Ohio’s job picture. Dials sees some brighter spots.

“I think its doing better. At least from my point of view,” Dials said. “I’m in the technology field. And, we are opening jobs and still trying to hire people in our field.”

But he adds a caveat, he thinks the economy has turned only recently.

“Only in the past year for us have we been able to go ahead and start hiring people,” he said. “So its been a recent thing.”

Back at the Department of Job and Family Services Booth, Terez said all employers who participate in the State Fair Job Fair have current job openings. The booth also has real-time online links to the agency’s job bank.

“Right now, today, Ohio Means Jobs has 82,000 job postings on line,” Terez said. “And also more than three million resumes that employers can search through.”

That means the ratio of resumes to listed openings on the Ohio Means Jobs website is about 36,000 to one. The site lists jobs from companies ohio and within 50 miles of the state’s borders.

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