The unemployment rate has dropped to a 49-year low, 3.7 percent.
There have been some bright spots of hiring to celebrate in the Mahoning Valley.
But I also found some areas which continue to struggle finding workers, despite having plenty of openings.
Work is booming for Starr Manufacturing in Vienna. It produces oil and gas equipment, which means it doesn’t have to be shipped here from Texas or Oklahoma. And local manufacturers are making equipment going to other parts of the country.
Hiring conditions are good.
“They are real strong. We are having a hard time finding skilled labor as are the other manufacturers like us,” said Dale Foerster from Starr Manufacturing. “We’re advertising everywhere we can. Advertising our benefits, still having a hard time meeting our needs.”
That need is new workers with skilled trades training to replace older workers ready to retire.
If that need is solved, the job market could stay strong.
“We have certain capacities that we have to meet, we also may have trouble getting what we have sold out the door. More bodies means more things out the door, means more things we can bring in,” said Nick Boyer from Starr Manufacturing.
Starr Manufacturing has used WKBN’s JobsNow program to highlight its needs, and Shepherd of the Valley also did this summer which helped fully staff its Howland location.
But healthcare is struggling to meet its needs.
“Great need for nursing, RN, LPN, STNA, residential aides etc.,” said Pam Hall from Shepherd of the Valley. “It’s not an easy job. It’s one of the hardest jobs out there.”
But those positions are difficult to fill across the healthcare industry, and it’s very competitive for applicants with proper training.
Hall has to staff four locations for Shepherd of the Valley, which employs roughly 500 people.
She encourages anyone interested in health care to look at training opportunities.
“Especially with the unemployment rate being as low as it is, nurses are more in demand than ever, so keeping those employees when you get them and celebrating that is most important,” Hall said.