JobsNow Chips Away at Job Openings

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – As of October, there were 12,250 job postings in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties. That’s according to the latest report from the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.

In its quarterly jobs report, the chamber found that job openings have dropped year-over-year from the fourth quarter of 2017 when there were 13,193 jobs postings in the Mahoning Valley, says the chamber manager of business development, Marcy Angelo. That was also down from the third-quarter of 2017, when there were 15,655.

While Angelo cannot directly connect the increase in filled job openings to the JobsNow Workforce Initiative of the chamber, she says the organization has noticed a marked decrease in unfilled jobs in the region since effecting the program in 2016. Through JobsNow, the chamber each week promotes available jobs on WKBN television newscasts.

“We’re hearing from companies that have utilized the WKBN segment, and they are getting more qualified candidates to apply for the positions,” Angelo says.

Mahoning County has the most job openings, 4,835, says the chamber director of government and public affairs, Nick Santucci.

At 160, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers made up the most jobs posted at OhioMeansJobs.com through its Help Wanted Online. That was followed by registered nurses at 137, retail salespeople at 94, first-line supervisors of retail sales workers 63, and light truck or delivery services drivers at 50.

Of all jobs posted in Mahoning County, 49.8% are upper-middle income jobs with a salary range of $50,000 to $79,000, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Nearly 72% require at least an associate’s degree and 21.4% require a high school or GED diploma.

Mercy Health placed the most job ads in the area with 244, followed by Youngstown City Schools at 64, the U.S. Air Force at 46 and AutoZone Inc. at 39.

Retail sales and first-line retail supervisors were among the most posted jobs in Trumbull County at a total of 127, followed by truck drivers at 45, customer service representatives at 32 and first-line supervisors of production and operating workers at 29, the department reports. Of all the jobs advertised in Trumbull County, 44.6% pay an upper-middle income, while 27.5% pay a middle-level income of $30,000 to $49,000.

An associate’s degree is required for 54% of advertised jobs and a GED or high school diploma for 35.4%. Mercy advertised the most in Trumbull County, followed by Arconic in Niles, AVI Foodsystems, AutoZone, H&R Block and Sears Holdings Corp.

In Columbiana County, first-line supervisors of retail sales workers were the most advertised job openings at 24, followed by general-maintenance and repair workers at 18, retail sales at 15, registered nurses at 14 and production workers at 13. An associate’s degree is required for 71.9% of the jobs posted, and a GED or high school diploma for 21.4%.

Nearly half of all jobs posted in Columbiana County earn an upper-middle income while 28.1% earn a middle income and 11.3% are entry level, paying less than $30,000. AutoZone is the most advertised employer, followed by the Department of Justice, East Liverpool City Hospital, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, CommuniCare Health Services and Salem Regional Medical Center.

Jobs that pay a high income – at least $80,000 annually – make up 10.8% of jobs in Columbiana County, 10.8% in Mahoning County and 10.5% in Trumbull County.

The idea behind JobsNow was to raise awareness of available jobs, their requirements, salary ranges and whom to contact to apply for them, the chamber’s Santucci says. Every Tuesday, WKBN airs segments promoting the available jobs, he says, and companies are reporting success.

“If their segment gets aired, generally the next day the company has applicants at their doorstep,” he says.

In addition, the chamber works with area companies to identify workforce concerns and how it can help.

The three main concerns among employers are a lack of soft skills, illegal drug use and transportation. These issues are as much a problem for retention as they are for hiring, according to Santucci.

To help with the issue of illicit drug use, the chamber is working with its member companies to cover the cost of drug tests through Steward WorkMed in Boardman and Austintown. Since launching the program, “Fewer companies seem to be having that issue,” Angelo says.

In 2019, the chamber will place a larger focus on the talent attractions piece of the program, as well as assisting displaced workers whether they’re from the area or elsewhere in the United States, she says. The organization will also help veterans find open positions as they enter the civilian workforce.

This month, the JobsNow program received first place in the workforce development category of the 2018 Economic Development Awards.

The initiative was honored by the Mid-America Economic Development Council at its annual Competitiveness Conference and Site Selector Forum in Chicago.

Initiatives such as JobsNow are important because the country faces a historically tight labor market.

In April, for the first time since 2000, the number of available positions exceeded the number of job seekers, reported the U.S. Department of Labor in June. Job openings rose to a seasonally adjusted 6.7 million, a record high, surpassing the 6.3 million Americans who were unemployed during the month.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.