Though a strong job market might sound like a good problem to have, Ohio faces a challenge.
According to a report by the Dayton Daily News, the state has approximately twice as many job openings as unemployed people.
“Ohio’s job market is robust, particularly for job seekers,” Bill Teets, director of communications with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, told the Daily News. “Unemployment claims remain low, and the number of job openings remain high.”
For many public officials and employers, that means the focus must shift to recruitment and retention.
Michael Shields, senior researcher with Policy Matters Ohio, told the Daily News that wages have not increased as much as they should have, and these are good labor market conditions for workers to seek out and push for higher pay. But at a certain point, there simply aren’t enough qualified, capable workers to do the jobs, no matter how much employers adapt.
Filling the need for employees will require shifts in educational and training strategies but also a look at whether our communities are providing what new families would need should they choose to move to Ohio for work. Culture and quality of life matter, of course, but so does affordable housing. Though it might feel like putting the cart before the horse for some public officials, being prepared with enough housing to meet the demand as we grow and attract even more employers is essential.
Keeping pace with the Buckeye State’s economic growing pains, rather than letting them overwhelm us, will be difficult and multi-faceted. But Ohio is up to the challenge. We must be.