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Health care, logistics to drive local job growth

Health care, logistics and transportation industries will drive much of the region’s job growth in the coming years, according to Ohio labor projections.

Total employment for this region is expected to grow 8.3 percent, adding 46,700 jobs before 2020, according to recent data from the Ohio Bureau of Labor Market Information.

An analysis of the state data by this newspaper shows the health care and health care support sector will have the region’s hottest job prospects and highest median pay by the end of the decade, adding more than 10,000 new jobs, including home health aides, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nursing aides, medical secretaries and medical assistants.

“Dayton is a large health care town in terms of outstanding health-based organizations who hire a lot of college graduates,” said Jason Eckert, University of Dayton’s director of career services. Those jobs range from medical practitioners to people who work on the business side of the health care industry, he said.

UD recently changed the name of its education school to the School of Education and Health Sciences, “in large part to reflect the growth and demand for health care professions,” Eckert said.

The metro area currently has a higher than average concentration of jobs at hospitals, doctor’s offices and clinics, said Lewis Horner, Ohio’s assistant bureau chief for labor market research. “That is going to be a growth area,” he said.

Labor experts attribute the expected increase to the aging population, a growing focus on home heath care, and provisions of the new federal health care legislation.

The region’s transportation and warehousing industries are another strong area, with a higher than average concentration of jobs, Horner said. Those industries are expected to add more than 3,100 jobs to the region from 2010 to 2020, according to state labor projections.

The “perfect storm” has been brewing in the trucking industry in the past decade that has caused a shortage of drivers in the area, said Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express and vice president of the American Trucking Association.

“We have an aging workforce that is retiring and our industry has done a poor job of recruiting younger drivers to fill these positions,” Burch said.

“We need to do a better job to provide funding for training and recruitment for people in their early 20s. There will be a great need in the future.”

The Bureau of Labor Market Information is projecting 16 percent growth in the transportation and warehousing sector because Ohio and the region, with its location near the Interstate 70 and 75 interchange, “are really in a good area for transporting supplies — both manufactured products and raw materials — back and forth to a large section of the country,” Horner said.

Tom Maher, president and chief executive of Manpower of Dayton, said a growing number of companies are identifying the area’s benefits for logistics and distribution. The region needs to do more to prepare workers for that industry, he said.

“Everybody is going to be searching for the same talent, which is going to create a really high demand for those types of jobs, which should improve wages,” Maher said.

Construction industry jobs also are seeing high growth rates, in part because employment levels were cut to such low levels during the 2007-2009 recession. In addition, the housing market’s recovery is fueling growth because of pent-up demand.

Horner said many people have been buying up leftover housing inventory after the recession. The result is fewer available existing homes, creating the need to build new ones, he said.

Nationally, positions in health care, social assistance, professional and business services, and construction will account for more than half of the projected 20.5 million new jobs added from 2010 to 202o, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This 14.3 percent growth reflects the assumption of a full-employment economy in 2020, officials said.

Education needed

Overall, 65 percent of all U.S. jobs will require some form of post-secondary education or training by 2020, according to a Georgetown University study. Nearly a quarter of all jobs will require a bachelor’s degree, the report said.

“The higher your education level in general, the higher your annual salary is going to be and the less chance of being laid off,” Horner said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with a professional degree had the highest weekly median wage ($1,735) and the lowest unemployment rate (2.1 percent) in 2012. Conversely, workers with less than a high school diploma had the lowest median wage ($471) and the highest unemployment rate (12.4 percent).

“Not everyone needs to have a four-year college degree to make a very good living for themselves, but what they do need to have is some type of post-high school certification or education,” Maher said.

Eckert said a two-year degree can be a great choice, particularly for engineering technology jobs, which are needed in local industry sectors such as advanced manufacturing.

Manufacturing is expected to see slower-than-average growth both nationally and statewide, which experts attribute to automation and outsourcing to temporary employment companies. The U.S. production sector lost 2.1 million jobs between 2006 and 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The region’s production sector is expected to add 810 jobs between 2010 and 2020, representing 1.6 percent growth, according to state labor projections.

However, the region “is still a hotbed for manufacturing,” with a strong demand for production workers, Maher said. He said more production jobs are being repatriated to the U.S. because of rising labor and transportation costs from overseas manufacturers.

Area workers will be needed to fill new manufacturing jobs, as well as existing ones being vacated by retiring workers, Maher said. “There is a labor crunch now, but it will be even worse as we go forward,” he said.

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