Photo: Stock art
Photo: Stock art

Report: Cincinnati-Middletown unhappiest place to work in U.S.

Cincinnati joins Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla.; Indianapolis, Ind.; and Columbus, Ohio as places where employees say relationships with the boss and co-workers, compensation, growth opportunities and other factors are affecting workplace happiness, according to Forbes Magazine, which is reporting the survey results. compiled more than 20,000 independent employee reviews across the country. The company could not be reached for comment.

Employees are most content working in San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., according to Forbes.

This news outlet asked its Facebook followers if they agree Cincinnati is not the happiest place to work.

“Few jobs, the majority of jobs aren’t very good, pollution, decaying infrastructure, abandoned buildings. What’s to be happy about?” said Trenton native Andrew Gantt.

There are “low wages and no opportunities for decent paying jobs,” said Oxford worker Bob Weber.

The 15-county Cincinnati metropolitan, which includes Butler and Warren counties, employed 1,012,600 people as of November 2013, the most recent information available. Employment is up from 981,500 people working in November 2009, but still below November 2007 employment of 1,051,500, according to Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

The region’s unemployment rate currently sits at 6.8 percent, also according to state records.

Oxford native Paula Hamman-Trimble said she used to work in downtown Cincinnati and wasn’t happy. “A lot of the people who lived in the (area) were rude, hateful and didn’t know how to treat others with mutual equality and respect,” Hamman-Trimble said.

However, Ryan Linneman, of Northern Kentucky, said he loves working in downtown Cincinnati.

“I wish I could have taken the survey. Everyone here likes their job and I haven’t met a disgruntled person yet,” Linneman said.

Local business leader Kert Radel, president and chief executive officer of the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, was surprised the Cincinnati-Middletown metro area topped the list. While he respects the criteria employed by the survey, he said part of the reason the region may have scored that dubious distinction is that many people, particularly in the Midwest, were displaced by the economic crash beginning in late 2007.

“They’re not working in their career jobs, they are working in a job to get a paycheck,” Radel said. “And when you work to get a paycheck, and you’re not in your career of choice, it really can affect the whole attitude of your opinion of your individual workplace.”

In addition, because the economy has left fewer workers in the workplace, many remaining employees are asked to do the jobs of two to three people with no increase in pay, he said.

Richard Nunlist, president of staffing agency Palmer Temps in Middletown, said there are unhappy employees living everywhere and it has more to do with the business environment than its location.

He called the survey results “a little baffling.”

Stuart Robinson, owner of Robinson Heating and Air and out-going president of the board of The Chamber of Commerce serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton, said his business has clients from northern Kentucky to Columbus.

He hasn’t heard of any employees saying they’re disgruntled and wonders who was interviewed for the survey.

“It always matters who was asked,” he said.

The same web company published a list last year saying Dayton was the happiest place to work in the country, and included Cleveland on the list of unhappiest workplaces.

Staff writer Eric Schwartzberg contributed to this report.