More jobs for Ohio

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 6, 2003

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services recently released a labor force analysis titled "Ohio Job Outlook to 2010" and projected that more than 660,000 new jobs will come to the state within the next seven years.

Buddy Martin, director of the Lawrence County's branch of ODJFS, is optimistic that the county will receive its share of these jobs and be able to keep pace with the rest of the state.

"I think Lawrence County is positioned to compete for a good percentage of these jobs," he said. "This county has a history of pulling together when it stands to benefit all or most of the residents. In a lot of counties you do not see that."

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According to the report, service industry and professionals that include most commercial businesses, city organizations and others will be the fastest growing occupations and will account for more than 200,000 jobs by 2010.

However, Martin said many of these are lower paying and that the county needs to continue to improve the atmosphere for businesses in this region to bring the higher-end jobs.

"We are continually trying to make a market available for potential employers and bring the employee base up to a skill level that makes us attractive," he said. "No business operates without people, even in this computer age."

Overall, he said that he thinks the county is on the right path. Attracting the quality, higher paying jobs needs to be the focus and he said he believes that bringing in companies that employ 40 or 50 workers, like Calpine and Duke Energy, may actually work better in the long run because then the county's future does not hinge on the fate of one employer.

"Meaningful employment is the key," he said. "Ohio is ahead of Lawrence County in that aspect, but by the time 2010 rolls around I think the county will make significant gains in terms of better employment opportunities."

The report predicted that the state's workforce will be older and more diverse. About two-thirds of the job will come from replacing existing workers who will leave the labor force. The remaining one-third of total job openings expected will occur due to net employment growth.

According to the findings, the largest growth area will come in business and health services and will account for more than a third of the total job growth. Health care occupations are expected to account for one in every seven new jobs in part because the baby boomer generation is rapidly aging.

Despite the fact that the population is aging, Martin thinks that Lawrence County's workforce will be as strong as ever.

"I think that with the work ethic in Appalachia people are geared towards working beyond retirement age," he said. "Really, there is not a large workforce beyond the baby boomers."

"With less available workers in these meaningful jobs. Lawrence County stands to gain more opportunities," he said. "We have to position ourselves as a county to say, 'Here we are and we can do it.'"

Education will be a primary factor for workers seeking to benefit from this projected growth over the next decade. The report stated that workers with higher levels of education or training will have more options in the job market and better prospects for obtaining higher-paying jobs.

"In a lot of ways we have got the process started. We need to work diligently to develop spaces in Ironton and sites like the Point, " he said of preparing for these changes. "As we go down this road, there will some speed bumps. Hopefully, when the dust settles we will be better off than we are now."

For more information,

on this matter, visit the Bureau of Labor Market Information's website at