We reported earlier this month a fact that job seekers should find heartening: Butler County is Ohio’s fastest-growing large county for jobs.
That was according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed that of the 13 largest counties in the state, Butler County is not only the fastest-growing in the state when it comes to jobs, it’s also enjoying the highest percentage increase in weekly wages.
FIRST COVERAGE: Butler County has the fastest job growth in Ohio
We asked officials with several area communities: “What is the catalyst for Butler County’s rise to the top in job growth and what will it take for that kind of growth to be sustained?” Here’s what they had to say:
Jody Gunderson, economic development director, City of Hamilton: “I believe the most important catalyst for the job growth we have witnessed in Hamilton can be attributed to the quality of the companies we are attracting and the growth of our existing companies. Our region boasts a workforce with a wide array of skill sets and a number of educational institutions willing to partner with our businesses. Additionally, Butler County is exceptionally affordable and business-friendly with easy access to appealing amenities within the region.
“In order to sustain this growth, we will need to continue attracting and growing talent in the region. One way we’ve done this in Hamilton is by developing our community to be attractive to the current and future workforce by emphasizing amenities that appeal to a wide range of people.”
Alex Kraemer, economic development manager, City of Fairfield: “I believe the major catalyst for job growth in the City of Fairfield has been the numerous recent expansions from our existing businesses, most notably in the manufacturing, insurance, and health care sector, as well as bringing in new businesses. For this trend to continue, it is important to support our existing businesses and foster a fertile environment for them to grow, while also attracting new businesses with good jobs.”
Jennifer Ekey, economic development director, City of Middletown: “From my perspective, we have a number of employers with jobs available which are getting filled, despite the low unemployment rate. Being so ideally situated between Dayton and Cincinnati, Middletown attracts employees from both the north and the south, which opens up our pool of available candidates to fill those jobs.”
Barb Wilson, spokeswoman, West Chester Twp.: “When companies seek to expand or relocate their operations, location and accessibility are typically the most critical factors. Butler County’s location within 600 miles of more than 50 percent of the U.S. buying power and its ease of access to rail lines, highways and airports make it an easy reach to customers and an attractive location for companies planning to relocate and/or expand operations.
“Continued investment in new infrastructure and improving and maintaining existing infrastructure — including roads, interchanges, utilities and data & telecommunications technology — are critical to sustaining the local economy. Also, encouraging a diverse economy, not reliant on a single industry, and focusing on targeted industries that benefit from symbiotic relationships will help to keep the region sustainable and competitive.”
MORE LOCAL JOB CREATION HEADLINES
BY THE NUMBERS: Butler County job growth and weekly wage growth
2.4: percent increase in employment in Butler County between March 2016 and March 2017
95: rank among the nation’s 346 largest counties for job growth
9.9: percent increase in weekly wage growth from March 2016 to March 2017
19: rank among the nation’s 346 largest counties for weekly wage growth
Source: U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics