LAKEWOOD, Ohio — Even if every person listed as unemployed by the State of Ohio were to somehow become gainfully employed, there would still be more than 20,000 open positions in the state, according to data from OhioMeansJobs and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Ohio's unemployment rate dropped in April, now down to 4% percent, the lowest unemployment rate since June 2019. In Ohio, that equates to 233,000 unemployed in the state, compared to more than 259,000 available jobs on OhioMeanJobs.
This simplistic view of the labor economy does not factor in experience or qualifications behind jobs, but it does highlight the ongoing hiring struggle, even as more people return to work.
Thirty-four USPS locations across Northeast Ohio hosted job fairs this past Saturday, touting their starting salary of $18.92 an hour.
“We’ve been struggling,” Matt Imwalle, manager of the Lakewood USPS, said. “We had to overburden our employees. We’re working to correct those issues and make sure we give the people the proper service they deserve.”
Others are taking different steps to address their industry’s future.
For the Ohio State Highway Patrol, billboards went up showing a simple message to attract the next generation of troopers.
BOSS: We need to get the word out in a BIG way that @OSHP is looking for qualified people that think they have what it takes to be a state trooper. Any ideas? ME: Hold my coffee 🏃🏾💨 #JoinOSHP pic.twitter.com/N1syGUb8mw— OSHP_NEOhio (@OSHP_NEOhio) May 13, 2022
In Richmond Heights, a friends and family fun day won’t necessarily help this staff of 23 full-time officers with their four openings this summer, but it might help later.
“ If they have good, positive relationships and experiences with police officers and see the fun aspect of the job, you know, it may be attractive to them,” Chief Tom Wetzel said. “They're actually basically almost like quasi-recruitment efforts.”
As for right now, Wetzel told News 5 they’re accepting applications for the next couple of weeks for lateral transfers, and officers from other departments looking to move. A move the chief said should help, but not as a long-term solution.
“At some point, these officers are going to have to settle in if they want to have opportunities for rank, seniority and different specialty positions,” he said. “So I'm concerned at some point where that's going to go as well. This whole lateral process has got value but where is the end game for that?”
Back at USPS Lakewood, Imwalle told News 5 they plan to keep hosting these job fairs once or twice a week at many of their locations.
So whether it's billboards or job fairs, careers in mail or law enforcement, the one constant going forward appears to be the consistent effort recruiting has become.
“We’re going to keep doing this until we get the employees we need to have,” he said. “We’ve been around for over 200 years and I don’t think we’re going anywhere anytime soon and we just need to get this workforce together.”
To apply for a job with USPS, click here.
To apply for a job with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, click here.