The size of Ashtabula County’s total residential workforce (workers living in the county) has dropped from an annual average of 50,300 in 2005 to 46,100 in September 2014, representing a drop of 4,200 workers over the decade, which represents an 8.3% reduction in the size of the county’s workforce. The primary reasons for a reduction in workforce size in any geographic area are: 1) the migration (relocation) of workers outside the county; or 2) workers have dropped out of the workforce because they are no longer actively seeking work or their unemployment benefits have ended and they are no longer reflected in the workforce estimate numbers.
Also, the number of Ashtabula County residential workers who are employed has dropped from 46,800 in 2005 to 43,500 in 2014, which is a drop of 3,300.
These numbers in large part explain the drop in the county’s unemployment rate from 7.1% in 2004 to 5.7% in September 2014. During the past decade Ashtabula County’s unemployment rate peaked at 13.2% in 2009.
Finally, the number of jobs located in the county dropped from 33,446 in 2005 to 29,992 in 2013 for a loss of 3,454 jobs over the period.
So what are the solutions to the problems pointed to here?
- Ashtabula County must work much harder at retaining existing residential workers who work in the county.
- Ashtabula County must attract new workers to live in the county.
- Ashtabula County must encourage more workers living in surrounding counties to work in the county.
Data source: Ohio Labor Market Information, Ohio Job and Family Service