A ribbon cutting was held for West Chester Trade Center at the corner of Ohio 747 and Union Centre Boulevard in early April in West Chester Township. The first two buildings are up and some tenants are already moved in. When completed, the seven-building complex will be nearly 2 million square feet. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Jobless rate drops to lowest in nearly 50 years

The U.S. economy keeps creating jobs and workers are hard to find, in Dayton and beyond.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 263,000 in April, and the unemployment rate declined to 3.6 percent, the lowest rate since the late 1960s, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The biggest job gains happened in professional and business services, construction, health care, and social assistance.

MORE: Business center services in Dayton suspended following indictments

“These days companies find themselves looking in new places for employees,” Doug Barry, president of Dayton’s BarryStaff, said Friday. “For example, it was unheard of a few years ago for manufacturing companies to search online for candidates. But competition for workers is stiff.”

Manufacturing employment held mostly stable for the third month in a row (adding 4,000 jobs in April).

Wages are also going up, with average hourly wages for private-sector workers growing 3.2 percent from a year earlier, indicating a very healthy economy. 

The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 3.6 percent in April, the lowest rate since December 1969, the BLS said.

Over the month, the number of unemployed persons decreased by 387,000 to 5.8 million.

In Western Ohio, health care offers some of the the most plentiful job openings, according to new data Friday from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. 

Western Ohio is expected to have more than 8,000 annual job openings in in-demand occupations through 2024, the state said. 

Those in-demand professions include registered nurses, with 516 annual openings, according to the state. 

Also on the “in-demand” list are nursing assistants, office clerks, team assemblers, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, truck drivers, customer service representatives and more. 

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