Though Springfield area lost jobs, help-wanted ads reached record level in region

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Employers in the region last month, including in the Springfield and the Dayton metro areas, posted the most job ads ever recorded seeking workers in a dozen counties in west and southwest Ohio, according to a Springfield News-Sun analysis of state data.

But, the Springfield metro area, consisting of Clark County, did see a decline in jobs in May, according to preliminary, seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That comes as the Dayton metro area as a whole saw the second largest increase in the state regarding employment last month.

Some large local employers say they have experienced high turnover and high demand for their services, and they have immediate labor needs.

“As one of the largest employers in the Dayton area, we expect to be a hiring leader in the community,” said Doug Houghton, director of talent with Kettering Health, which has about 1,900 job openings.

Kettering Health also has a presence in Springfield and added 70 jobs in the area with the opening of its medical center there in April.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

But, according to preliminary employment data, Clark County lost 100 jobs in May, 200 jobs in both March and February and employment remained flat in April.

Though the amount of jobs in the area decreased in May, the number of Clark County residents listed as employed in some form or looking for work increased during that month, according to data released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family services.

The unemployment rate in Clark County went from 3.5% in April to 3.3% in May. The number of residents estimated to be employed in some form went from 60,300 to 60,800 during those two months. The overall labor force went from 62,500 to 62,900 during the same period.

In comparison, the Dayton metro area saw an increase of 2,000 jobs in May, which was the second largest increase in the state behind the Akron region, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Dayton metro area has added jobs in four of the first five months of 2022, and hiring accelerated in May to the fastest rate of growth since last fall.

The metro area includes Montgomery, Miami and Greene counties.

Employers last month also posted about 37,160 job ads on — the state’s online employment search tool — for the Ohio west region, which covers 12 counties in west and southwest Ohio.

That represented the most online job ads ever posted for the Ohio west region, which includes Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Preble counties, according to OhioMeansJobs data that goes back to 2008.

The Ohio west area also saw a record number of job ads in April.

But the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says the methodology and data sources used to create the online employment ads reports have been modified several times over the years.

Agency staff recommend not strictly comparing older data to current data, and they also said the information is a snapshot in time and may not represent long-term trends.

Employers with the most local online job ads included Kettering Health, the local health care system, which had 3,407 ads, and General Dynamics Information Technology, a business unit for the General Dynamics aerospace and defense company (1,095 ads).

Deloitte, which provides auditing, consulting and financial advisory services posted 753 ads and the Dollar General, the discount retailer, was responsible for 705 ads.

Kettering Health continues to expand, including opening its medical center to serve the Springfield community this year and a Years Ahead Health Center in Dayton, said Houghton.

Kettering Health also recently broke ground on a new medical facility in Wilmington, he said, and the organization also saw higher-than-normal patient volumes and staff turnover during the pandemic.

During the COVID crisis, some nurses decided to step back from work as schools switched to remote learning and they encountered childcare challenges, Houghton said.

Demand for nurses, nursing assistants, respiratory therapists and other clinical professionals increased due to higher demand and changing patient needs, Houghton said, and about half of the organization’s 1,900 job openings are full-time positions.

In the Ohio west area, the occupations with the most job ads included nurses (2,090 ads), heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (1,872 ads), first-line supervisors of retail sales workers (1,313) and software and app developers (1,094).

Statewide, increased hiring in May brought more workers back into the workforce and kept the state on the path to recovery, but the job growth was slower than in some recent months, said Policy Matters Ohio.

One concerning sign in the statewide jobs report was that Ohio’s private-sector employers added only 1,600 new jobs last month, which was far below the 9,000 new jobs created in April, said Rea Hederman Jr., executive director of the Economic Research Center at the Buckeye Institute.

The slowing private-sector job growth will make it more difficult to climb back from the pandemic-related jobs deficit of about 90,000 jobs, compared compared to February 2020, he said.