Jobs Report Could Indicate Ohio’s Economic Recovery May Be Slowing

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Columbus resident Vernon Murphy, an eight-year army veteran, was laid off from a professional job in February.  Like many Ohioans, he's hoping his experience will be enough to land his next job.

"I do want a job - don't get me wrong.  I want to work," Murphy said. "There are jobs in the city to be had, but I think the issue is employers have a hard time finding people with the proper skills set needed to do the job."

Job placement expert Suzanne Coleman-Tolbert said she's nervous about the growing skills gap between some workers and potential employers.

"In a lot of middle class and lower income neighborhoods, we need to focus our attention on trying to get those people trained and back to work," said Coleman-Tolbert.

She also says many professionals, from both the private and public sectors, have high expectations to find work quickly.

"They think 'I'll just make a phone call and get an interview' while they're competing with hundreds and hundreds of other individuals, just like Vernon, who have that degree or experience and they're all competing for the same job," said Coleman-Tolbert.

Ohio lost more jobs in March than any other state.  More than 20,400 jobs were lost which includes 6,000 in the hospitality industry and more than 4,300 in construction.  Even the health care profession was down 2,500 jobs.

"We think it's just a speed bump," said Ben Johnson from the state department of Job and Family services.

Johnson said he's not nervous about the numbers.

"The state added a lot of jobs in February and then lost jobs in March.  We think a lot of that could be the volatility inherits in a weak recovery," said Johnson.

Vernon hopes that's the case, and he's cautiously optimistic about his immediate future.

"I do get unemployment - so I'm able to get by okay, so I don't feel pressed to go out and take anything to get money coming in so right now I feel like I'm okay," Murphy said.

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