Where are all the workers? Employers finding higher wages alone not enough to lure people

by | Jan 13, 2022

Doug Livingston

Akron Beacon Journal

If preliminary data for November hold true, Summit and Portage counties have never had this few unemployed workers in 25 years of recordkeeping at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“But it can be a little bit deceiving when you see the low number of unemployed and unemployment rate,” explained Jacob Duritsky, vice president of strategy and research at Team NEO, an 18-county collaboration of business and workforce developers that includes chambers of commerce from Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Youngstown and Warren.

Duritsky and his colleagues analyze job, wage, productivity and other data to chart industry-level economic forecasts and inform strategies that connect employers and job-seekers for a more prosperous Northeast Ohio. The local figure troubling Duritsky and regional economists interviewed by the Beacon Journal isn’t the unemployment rate, which fell to 3.5% for Summit and Portage counties in the non-seasonally adjusted November report.

It’s labor participation.

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