Coronavirus: Here is who’s hiring right now as unemployment skyrockets

Meijer, Kroger and other local grocery stores are continuing to hire workers during the coronavirus outbreak. FILE PHOTO
Meijer, Kroger and other local grocery stores are continuing to hire workers during the coronavirus outbreak. FILE PHOTO

The past week has been full of news about businesses closing or reducing staff and hours because of coronavirus orders by the state, but local job analysts say other companies are still hiring.

“Health care, logistics, a little bit of manufacturing depending on what their product is … and places like Kroger, Meijer, Walmart and Amazon are also hiring,” said Joanie Krein, VP/market manager for the Manpower of Dayton staffing firm.

Phil Parker, president and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, agreed on most of those fields and said the information technology and construction industries are also looking for workers.

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There is some debate over which businesses should be open, as Ohioans try to limit contact and limit spread of coronavirus. But under current circumstances — many businesses legally open, and no federal stimulus to help those forced out of work — many Ohioans are seeking jobs.

Thousands of local workers from restaurants and bars, fitness centers, hotels and other businesses have lost jobs or lost most of their hours. More than 100,000 Ohioans filed for unemployment compensation last week, with some looking for work now, others hoping to wait out a stoppage if it only lasts a couple of weeks, and all of them watching to see if the federal government sends out checks.

Health care jobs

Hospitals, home health care agencies, medical supply companies and others were trying to hire before the coronavirus outbreak, and things have only gotten busier for most of them.

“There are a lot of health care agencies, nursing homes, hospice … I have friends in that industry that are begging for employees right now,” Krein said. “They need people to care for other people, and they were already struggling to fill those jobs.”

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Both Krein and Parker said it’s not just direct patient care roles, though, as some job-seekers may be nervous about taking those jobs at the moment. Krein cited openings for medical office clerks who can do billing and coding. Parker pointed to IT roles as medical practices try to better communicate with patients via technology rather than solely by office visit.

Jobs for right now

Some newly out-of-work Ohioans are in tough financial positions and need a new job they can start immediately. Others may be using this stoppage to shift gears and look for a new career over the coming weeks and months.

Krein said she recommends all affected people file for unemployment compensation, as the one-week waiting period for benefits has been waived. She said many community agencies are offering safety net programs, but there are job options too.

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“If they want a job today, they could probably walk into a Kroger and start working,” Krein said. “If you’re a restaurant worker, you’re probably already used to standing on your feet, dealing with the public, running a cash register — you have a lot of transferable skills.”

Some companies are marketing to those people who need a new job immediately.

Meijer announced it is hiring up to 100 employees to do warehouse work in a variety of shifts at its Tipp City distribution center. The Domino’s pizza chain said it is trying to hire store managers and other workers for its 30-plus carryout and delivery sites across the Miami Valley. Walmart said it plans to hire more than 5,700 associates in Ohio stores and distribution centers.

Variety of industries

Parker said the Chamber has talked to business members in several fields that have openings.

• Trucking/logistics: Parker said these companies have been looking for more drivers for some time, but with supply chains under even more pressure at the moment, the need is magnified.

“Everything in the logistics industry is being ramped up,” Parker said. “We’re trying to get more people staying inside … but we still have to move things to distribution centers and stories.”

The Meijer distribution center in Tipp City is hiring for 100 jobs for the local of trailers and product selection.

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• Amazon and Walmart: The online retail giant has operations locally, and Parker said Amazon is looking for workers at its last-mile distribution facilities like the one in Kettering. Amazon is also looking for drivers, but Parker said the time needed to get a commercial driver's license can be a hurdle for some applicants.

Walmart said it’s hiring 5,700 associates for stores and distribution centers in Ohio.

• Information technology: Some big companies like AT&T and Cincinnati Bell are hiring as they try to help companies build more seamless "virtual work solutions" as employees work from home during the coronavirus outbreak, according to Parker.

He said help continues to be very needed locally in the IT field, also at smaller companies that may help businesses improve their websites and communication systems.

• Construction: Parker said the local construction industry's need for laborers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers and other workers continues.

“They’re saying, ‘We still have contracts, we still have projects that we’re working on, we still need help, and we don’t want to stop the construction process,’ “ Parker said.

Job posting statistics

The Ohio Means Jobs website lists more than 160,000 posted jobs in Ohio, with 16,000 of them within 20 miles of Dayton. Parker acknowledged some of those opportunities may be out of date or inactive if they were posted a month ago before coronavirus changed the landscape.

But there are 1,000 postings near Dayton that were either newly posted or updated since Friday.

They include store managers, billing specialists, sales associates in many fields, security guards, drivers and home care aides. There are also high-tech postings for engineers and technicians at local defense contractors, software developers and nurses at local hospitals.

“Some of the postings are changing, but think of the industries that need help now,” Parker said. “I’m being told that employers are expediting the hiring process.”

How are you affected?

Did you lose your job or most of your hours because of the coronavirus outbreak? We want to hear your story: How are you adjusting and coping now? Email this reporter at jeremy.kelley@coxinc.com.