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Statewide Report on Jobs Stresses Stagnancy

 A report out Sunday says the labor market in Ohio is tough—and not improving as fast as the rest of the country. But some Dayton-area officials have a brighter outlook.

The report, from left-leaning organization Policy Matters Ohio, says jobs, especially well-paying ones, are slow to return to the state. Unemployment has leveled out around 7 percent, but many people continue to leave the labor force completely.

“Our labor force participation is the lowest it’s ever been,” said Policy Matters Ohio Executive Director Amy Hanauer. “That means that people have left the labor market because they don’t think they can find jobs.”

But Heath MacAlpine of Montgomery County’s Department of Job and Family Services said the county is working overtime to combat that.

“I think it’s gonna be steady growth,” MacAlpine said. “I think we’re going to see more announcements of business choosing to expand or locate in Montgomery County, and I think we’re in the process of a multi-year rebuilding.”

He says job training programs will help workers seize new opportunities in the Dayton area including the Caterpillar logistics center, a new Payless and a logistics center project in the city of Union that could lead to 1,000 new jobs next year.

Still, bouncing back from the recession is a tall order: Ohio has lost more jobs since 2005 than 46 out of the 50 states. And unemployment rates continue to disproportionately affect African-Americans and those without higher education.