Job Openings Steady but Shifted by Pandemic

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – While the number of job listings in northeastern Ohio didn’t change significantly over the course of the pandemic, the employment landscape has nonetheless changed, according to a report from Team NEO.

In its quarterly economic review, released Dec. 14, the regional economic development agency reports 311,000 job openings posted between March 1 and Oct. 31, on par with what occurred in the same period in 2019.

But sectors where those jobs shifted reflects the coronavirus’ impact on the economy. In that six-month period, 12,324 jobs for truck drivers were posted, while 11,366 were posted for registered nurses. Overall, there were 60,500 openings in the health-care industry.

“Openings grew in sectors that have pivoted to accommodate new consumer behaviors. The trucking industry, for instance, offered many opportunities for job seekers as the urgency to move product became paramount during the pandemic,” the report stated. “While Team NEO’s Aligning Opportunities report indicates that total demand for registered nurses in 2019 was below this number – at 10,678 – the COVID-19 pandemic bolstered the need for these medical professionals in 2020.”

At the same time, however, jobs in the retail and hospitality sectors showed a decline, though the report did not state how large. Retail sales job listings totaled 10,178 between March and October, while retail management positions totaled 6,765. As a sector, hospitality and food services posted 23,133 job openings and retail trade 39,982.

“As food delivery and online shopping take on a more prominent role in consumers’ lives, drivers and warehouse workers are in heavy demand. The challenge is that these emerging opportunities may not provide clear pathways to family-sustaining wages or long-term employment.”

Throughout the 18-county northeastern Ohio region – including Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana – represented by Team NEO, the Cleveland Clinic posted the most job openings with 8,823, followed by Amazon at 7,945.