The economy is in its ninth year of recovery and there are want ads posted for job openings all over the place. Employers say they are having a hard time finding workers and many are calling for more skills training. Critics say that employers would be able to fill jobs if they offered better pay and benefits.
Here are 7 things we learned about the state of jobs and the economy in the Dayton region as part of our project, The Path Forward.
1. Local economic leaders say the key to success is to better align skills with jobs; leverage Wright-Patterson Air Force Base; maximize health care jobs; help small businesses and entrepreneurs succeed and focus retention and development efforts on aerospace and defense, advanced manufacturing, logistics and bioscience and advanced data management.
2. The nine-county region around Dayton as a whole has added jobs since the recession, but Montgomery County and three other counties lost jobs during that period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
3. Average weekly earnings in the Dayton Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Montgomery, Greene and Miami counties, declined to $744 in 2017, down from $918 in 2007, according to inflation-adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
4. Employers want workers with basic skills, such as math and the ability to communicate and follow directions, and sometimes more advanced skills. Employers also say more workers with “soft skills,” such as having proper phone etiquette and work habits, are needed, along with workers ho have leadership potential.
5. There are more than 15,500 job openings posted on the OhioMeansJobs.com website for the 12 counties around Dayton. All require at least a high school degree or GED and many want higher education credentials.
6. Companies come here because of the location, local education and training options, the available workforce and the quality of life, development officials say. Among the attributes: 60 percent of the entire U.S. and Canadian population is accessible within a day’s drive.
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7. Some believe Dayton needs an image makeover. If more companies knew how nice it is to live here, “I believe they would choose to locate here,” said Jeff Hoagland, president and chief executive of the Dayton Development Coalition.”
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Like all of you, we care deeply about our community, and want it to be the best it can be. There is much to celebrate in the Dayton region, but we also face serious challenges. If we don’t find solutions to them, our community will never be its best.
We have formed a new team to dig into the most pressing issues facing the Miami Valley. We want to engage you and others in the community to move toward a stronger and better future. We’ve begun a project we are calling The Path Forward in which, with your help and that of a new 16-member community advisory board, we will seek solutions to issues readers told us they were most concerned about.
In June, we began the project by examining the current state of the opioid epidemic, asking what a recovered community would look like. A few weeks ago, we began an examination of Dayton Public Schools. Today, we explore why the local economy is booming for some people, while others continue to struggle.
Follow the project on our Facebook pages and at DaytonDailyNews/PathForward, and share your ideas.