Dayton region job growth lags other Ohio cities

The Dayton metro region saw year-over-year employment growth late last year, but it lagged several of the other cities in Ohio and the state’s overall growth.

The Dayton Metropolitan Statistical Area’s total non-farm employees grew by 1.4% to 381,900 between November 2020 and November 2021, according to most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The Springfield region saw a 2.3% employment growth, third in the state. The Cincinnati metro area, which includes Butler County, had the highest growth at 3.6% compared to November 2020.

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The Mansfield metro area is the only region in the state that lost jobs; it had 1% fewer jobs than in November 2020.

Ohio’s employment grew by 2% to 5.4 million year-over-year.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

“The Dayton region, like others across the globe, has already experienced economic disruptions due to the pandemic. The supply chain issues, labor shortage, and inflation all provide challenges that are not unique to our area,” said Montgomery County Administrator Michael Colbert. “We are focused on helping our existing and incoming businesses in any way we can.”

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He said the region’s biggest hurdle is getting people trained and into jobs that pay a livable wage.

“The last two years have seen big losses in the workforce, because of illness or tragic loss of life during the pandemic, and many workers are retiring early or using this time to transition to new careers,” Colbert said. “Others are making lifestyle changes that require they spend fewer hours on the job.”

Credit: HUE12, LLC

Credit: HUE12, LLC

How rapidly job growth occurs in 2022 will be determined by how many people return to the labor force this year, said Richard Stock, director of the University of Dayton Business Research Group

Those decisions will be influenced by “institutional constraints on labor force participation by women in particular. The crisis in child care and the on-again, off again nature of school systems openings and closings has made labor participation difficult for families and the burden differentially falls on women,” Stock said.

The federal government’s pandemic relief efforts included money to help child care facilities survive but President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better proposal providing money to help families pay for child care and for universal preschool has stalled in the U.S. Senate.

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Stock said the pace of job growth also will be dependent on the impact of the current surge in COVID-19 cases on the badly battered leisure and hospitality and healthcare sectors.

“These two sectors have been the hardest hit, along with state and local government,” Stock said. “If the surge is as threatening as it currently seems in Ohio there may be a long term impact on employment in both these sectors.”

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