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Demand for workers remains high

A boost in retirements and a hot economy has led to Ohio employers hiring at a torrid pace, with the state’s pace of job growth exceeding the national pace for the first time since 2012.

Ohio’s unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in July 2018, up from 4.5 percent in June, the state reported last week.

But recent revisions show the state’s non-agricultural wage and salary employment rising by 7,600 jobs in July compared to a year ago during the same month.

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With those revisions, Ohio’s year-over-year job growth rate is 2.13 percent, while the national rate is 1.65 percent, Cleveland economist George Zeller said.

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“Ohio ended its lengthy sub-par job growth streak at 66 consecutive months below the U.S. national average when the figure went positive in both June and July 2018,” Zeller said.

The hiring pace also is being seen across the region.

Tom Maher, owner of the local Manpower staffing franchise, said he has seen no slackening in local employers’ demand for qualified workers.

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If anything, the problem is the supply of workers — or the lack of it, he said.

The number of unqualified people out there is “alarming,” Maher said. Too often, candidates have a disqualifying criminal background or an inability or unwillingness to pass drug tests, he said.

Said Maher, “Unfortunately, that’s nothing new.”

Still, he thinks we’re seeing an “acceleration” in area retirements, which is only sharpening demand for the right workers.

“That’s why we’re seeing more of these jobs fairs,” Maher said. “We didn’t used to see that many.”

MAHLE Behr will hold a hiring event Thursday in a search for around 100 more workers, augmenting a Dayton auto parts production plant that already has 1,600 workers — the largest manufacturer still within Dayton municipal boundaries.

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The MAHLE Behr event will be Thursday at the Drury Inn & Suites Dayton North, 6616 Miller Lane, from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Qualified applicants can expect on-site hiring, the company said.

Auto glass manufacturer Fuyao has 2,300 workers in Moraine and is looking for about 400 more by the end of 2018, that company’s president, Jeff Liu, recently said. Fuyao leaders have said that plant could have 3,000 employees at full capacity.

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Silfex recently held a career fair at Sinclair College, searching for CNC and 5-axis machinists. The company is converting a 350,000-square-foot warehouse near the Prime Ohio Industrial Park in Springfield into a high-tech manufacturing plant and has pledged to create more than 400 jobs over the next several years.

“I don’t see any signs of the economy slowing down,” Maher said. “I think if anything, we’ll see an uptick.”

Other staffing agencies said this time period is similar to a hiring crunch in the mid-1990s when the economy was also hot. Employers are competing for the same type of people for manufacturing, retail and food service jobs.

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The number of workers unemployed in Ohio in July was 265,000, up 6,000 from 259,000 in June. The number of unemployed people has decreased by 28,000 in the past 12 months from 293,000. The July unemployment rate for Ohio decreased from 5.1 percent in July 2017.

In 2017, Ohio gained 32,200 jobs, the slowest annual job growth that Ohio experienced since the end of the Great Recession, Zeller said. So far in 2018, the state said more than 82,000 non-farm jobs have been added.

Manufacturing was again one of the fastest growing sectors in Ohio, adding 4,700 jobs, the state said. Employment in goods-producing industries, at 942,300, increased 6,800 over the month of July as gains were also seen in construction (with 2,200 added jobs), surpassing the loss of 100 jobs in mining and logging.

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