October 24, 2021

Wagit Mart

Reach Out And Touch Business

Akron area employers, workers, recruiters explain labor shortage

Roger Dixon considered a $16-an-hour job last week at a food snack factory in Akron.

“It was enough for me to come down and see what’s going on,” Dixon said while reviewing his job offer Wednesday at Great Work! Employment Services on East Market Street in Akron.

The 33-year-old machinist said the regional staffing agency always finds him good-paying jobs. But he’s never earned $16 an hour in his life.

He made $12.50 an hour a year ago at a window and door factory in Cuyahoga Falls. When the pandemic hit, his employer required masks then made work voluntary.

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Enhanced weekly unemployment benefits from the federal government, which began at $600 and continue at $300 through June 26 in Ohio on top of traditional payments, made the decision to stay home an easy one, especially for workers like Dixon who rode a bus.

After working as a convenience store cashier when the economy first reopened, Dixon is hoping to cash a decent paycheck in time to celebrate July 4 with his family.

“I got kids,” he said. “I got stuff to do.

“Time to get back to work.”

Roger Dixon listens to Bradley Zimmerman, staffing supervisor at GreatWork! Employment in Akron, Wednesday as he get gets ready to fill out paperwork for a job.

An economy that doesn’t work

Since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current tracking began in 2000, there has never been more job openings in America. Wages for all industries in Ohio jumped 12.5% last year, climbing five times faster than they did the year before.

Employers and staffing agencies say wages are going up even faster in 2021. Jobs that paid $10 or $11 an hour last year are paying $14 or $15 today. But it’s still not enough to fix a job market that, in many ways, isn’t working.