Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Watching Employment, Not Unemployment

Economist Alan Beaulieu spoke to a Columbus meeting of CEO's in October last year, and I distinctly recall his advice:  "Pay attention to employment, not unemployment."  He was predicting a modest recovery in 2010 and his advice was that while unemployment might be slow to recover, there are more positive signs to watch.

Ohio's latest release of unemployment rates for March 2010 showed 11.1% unemployment.  Hidden in the release, though, was a slight increase (4,900 people) in employment.

Though the county-by-county numbers will lag for some unknown reason, the last available county-by-county numbers showed a similar trend for Licking County.  February 2010 unemployment stalled at 11.1% percent.  The employment numbers, though, saw a 400-person increase.

Taking Beaulieu's advice, we'll consider the growth in employment the potential start of a positive trend.

And the anecdotal evidence of recovery is mounting too.

I attended a recent meeting of manufacturers where one prominent area manufacturer noted it had greatly expanded its employment.  This was a company that had seen layoffs in 2008 into early 2009.  And, most notably, the company was actually having trouble finding workers in a certain specialty skill set.

The latter was something that our local Workenomics Director set out to help solve and, I'm confident, the company and he will find the solution.

The other anecdotal tidbit is the growing number of job postings at http://ohiomeansjobs.com/

A recent search of jobs available within 10 miles of Heath found 642 postings.  Over 1,200 engineering jobs were being advertised within 50 miles of Newark.

Times are still tough, but, choosing to be positive, I'm watching employment.

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