Mortgage lending at a 16-year low

Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012 @ 3:26 PM
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 @ 3:26 PM

Mortgage lending has fallen to a 16-year low as banks continue to enforce stringent credit requirements.

Have you been turned down for a mortgage or refinancing even with a good job and credit score?

If so, we'd like to hear your story. Please contact Dayton Daily News reporter Randy Tucker at (937) 225-2437 or 

Honda takes students behind-the scenes of engine plant

Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Students from several area high schools got the chance to tour the Honda engine plant in Anna Wednesday during Manufacturing Day.

About 600 high school students visited Honda’s Anna Engine Plant on Wednesday in an effort plant leaders said will help students better understand the plant and the work opportunities available to them.

Honda employs about 1,400 workers from Clark and Champaign counties, and the automaker employs about 14,500 Ohioans overall.

DETAILS: 3 things to know about the newest Honda Accord made at Marysville

The Anna Engine Plant is Honda’s largest engine plant, said Paul Dentinger, Anna Plant Manager. It employs about 3,200 people. This is the first time the plant has hosted a Manufacturing Day event where high school students can tour the plant, he said.

“It’s a great opportunity for us here at the Anna Engine Plant,” Dentinger said, “bringing in some of that hopefully future top talent.”

The plant hopes to host events like this in the future, Dentinger said.

This is the fifth year that the U.S. Census Bureau has recognized Manufacturing Day across the country, according to a release from the bureau. Manufacturing is an important economic sector in the country, the release says. The industry is the fourth largest employer in the United States, with 11.6 million workers, according the census bureau.

RELATED: Honda, Toyota supplier to add 85 jobs, build $55M Springfield plant

Visitors from 19 schools toured the plant on Wednesday, including students from the Upper Valley Career Center, Anna Local Schools and Sidney City Schools. The students walked the plant floor where they saw the assembly line and talked with engineers about the pieces that go into the engine and how they maintain the quality of those parts.

It’s an important time for the plant to reach out to young people, Dentinger said.

“Right now we have many people that will be retiring so the next generation of workforce is very important to us as we continue to grow as a company,” he said.

Plus many students have misconceptions about the Anna Engine Plant, he said.

“Most people think we’re just a manufacturing facility but actually Honda is much more than that,” he said.

There are positions at the company in marketing, human resources, accounting and more, he said.

READ MORE: Urbana firm to add 20-plus jobs as part of $2.7M expansion

The plant tour was eye-opening for Logan Siegel, a junior at Upper Valley Career Center.

“It’s hard to believe how many people work here … It made me really get excited about machining and the manufacturing industry,” he said.

Siegel is taking manufacturing classes at Upper Valley Career Center and said the tour was a confidence booster.

“It makes me confident to know that this is something I want to go down,” he said.

It showed another student at Upper Valley what it could be like to work at the plant.

“I could definitely see myself coming here if the things work out the way I want them to,” senior Nathan Hausfeld said.

He’s also taking manufacturing classes and was excited to learn he may not have to go far to get a good job.

“If you want to do this,” he said, “this is the place to be.”

By the numbers

1,400: Honda workers from Clark and Champaign counties

14,500: Honda workers in Ohio overall

11.6 million: Manufacturing workers in the industrial nationwide, according to the census

Complete coverage

The Springfield News-Sun digs into important stories about jobs and the economy in Clark and Champaign counties, including recent coverage of local unemployment rates and how driverless cars could affect Navistar.

Afraid of a recession? Consider working in these 5 industries

Published: Monday, October 02, 2017 @ 5:55 PM

The following 13 classes will help teach you the skills you need for the modern workforce Job Interview Skills Training Course HTML Introduction to Spreadsheets and Models Learning Web Analytics Conversational Spanish Made Easy Learn Adobe Illustrator from Scratch Marketing in a Digital World Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills Complete Guide to Drafting a Business Plan Report Writing Made Simple Introduction to Video Editing Secret Sauce of Great Writing The Complete Presentation and

The American economy might be humming along right now, but you should be prepared in case that changes. Job seekers hoping to insulate their careers from even the most devastating downturn should opt for expanding industries and specialized tasks that can’t be done by a robot or are less likely to be outsourced to another country.

Here are five industries that fit that bill:

Information security

Within the information technology sector, information security analysts are among the most in demand as the number of cyberattacks on computer networks and systems increases. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted an increase by 18 percent, or 14,800 jobs, between 2014 and 2024, making for many new job listings.

>> 13 cheap online courses that will get you ready for today's workforce

In light of this trend, colleges are implementing dedicated information security programs to help train aspiring analysts. Many already in the workforce hold more generalized bachelor’s degrees in computer science, programming or related fields.

Until employers are able to fulfill the ever-growing need for information security analysts, such workers will likely find themselves logging overtime and on-call hours to protect their organizations’ computer networks and systems. In exchange, many take home a nearly six-figure salary of $92,600, the median annual average in May 2016, according to the BLS.

Healthcare and surgery

A growing number of health care providers and their clients might be trying out telemedicine or conducting robotic surgery, but some procedures and calls can’t be handled solely through technological tools.

“Even with the automation of some functions in the medical field, nothing can replace a real person taking care of you,” said Cheryl Palmer, founder and president of the career coaching firm Call to Career. There will always be a demand for doctors, who need an extensive education that typically includes an undergraduate degree, a medical degree, and often three to seven years spent in internships and residencies, depending on the practitioner’s specialty.

This might not be the best career choice if you’re looking for work-life balance. Doctors tend to work long hours or endure irregular schedules, overnight hours and mandatory shifts on call. But helping patients feel their best can be personally and financially rewarding.

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Primary care physicians received a median annual compensation of $241,273, and physicians practicing in medical specialties received total median annual compensation of $411,852, according to the Medical Group Management Association’s Physician Compensation and Production Survey, published in 2015.

Occupational therapy

Medically minded people who don’t want to spend as much time in school could opt to become occupational therapy assistants, one of more than a half-dozen health care industry jobs on the BLS list of fastest growing careers. The median annual wage for OT assistants was $59,010 in May 2016, according to BLS figures. This pay can help compensate for the physical demands that can come with a career helping clients complete challenging tasks to cultivate and improve skills needed for daily living.

If you want to be an occupational therapy assistant, you need an associate degree from an accredited occupational therapy assistant program and a professional license in most states. Post-high school training and licensing requirements are typical of many of the best jobs for weathering a recession, said Bruce Hurwitz, president of the executive recruiting and career coaching firm Hurwitz Strategic Staffing.

“Recession-proof jobs are any jobs that are hands-on,” he said. “Think of anything from an auto mechanic to a physician. These are jobs that provide services that, despite the economy, people still need.”

Automotive service

An economic downturn could actually boost job security for mechanics and other auto repair specialists as drivers look to keep cars running longer. Most technicians need to complete post-secondary education programs and earn certifications in their field to land entry-level jobs. They must also be more computer-savvy than mechanics of a generation ago.

>> Night shift: 4 jobs that pay better after-hours

Automotive technicians have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations, according to the BLS. They must frequently work with heavy parts and tools at their job sites, putting them at risk for workplace injuries such as cuts, sprains and bruises.

Those hazards could be a small price to pay in exchange for good job security and a solid salary. The median annual wage for automotive service technicians and mechanics was $38,470 in May 2016.

Accounting and auditing

For some people, crunching numbers isn’t the most fun or attractive way to earn a salary. That’s why certain types of financial services professionals are always in demand, according to human resource experts. After all, keeping close tabs on company cash flow can be even more crucial during an economic downturn, which means tax accountants, forensic accountants, auditors and those with similar titles are fairly insulated during recessions.

These professions typically require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field, but the educational investment will probably pay off. Accountants and auditors earned a median annual salary of $68,150 as of May 2016, according to the BLS. These are also among the few jobs on this list that offer some remote and work-from-home options.

100 acres of multi-family-zoned land sold for $625K

Published: Monday, September 11, 2017 @ 9:18 AM

Liberty-Bravo III LLC was recorded as the buyer of 99.4 acres of general farm land just southeast of Needmore Road and Old Troy Pike, according to county records. The price was $625,000. Google Maps
Liberty-Bravo III LLC was recorded as the buyer of 99.4 acres of general farm land just southeast of Needmore Road and Old Troy Pike, according to county records. The price was $625,000. Google Maps

The sale of nearly 100 acres of land zoned for multi-family housing in North Dayton was recorded Friday.

Liberty-Bravo III LLC was recorded as the buyer of 99.4 acres of general farm land just southeast of Needmore Road and Old Troy Pike, according to Montgomery County records. The price was $625,000.

A LoopNet listing for the land says the site has “multifamily zoning in place for up to 300 manufactured homes.”

RELATEDNew Huber Heights IHOP sold 

The sale was divided into eight parcels.

A message seeking comment was left with a Cincinnati attorney for Liberty-Bravo III, a company which gives a Cincinnati mailing address in state filing documents.

A message was also left with an Oberer commercial real estate agent in the sale.

U.S. has let defense industry demise go too far, local owner says

Published: Friday, August 04, 2017 @ 8:40 AM

Kettering defense contractor watching White House stance on defense parts outsourcing

When Rick Little met presidential candidate Donald Trump at a campaign stop in Dayton last September, Little brought up his concern about the shrinking U.S. defense industrial base.

“To me, it’s always been an issue that we’ve let so much of our industry go,” said Little, president of Starwin Industries in Kettering that makes parts to keep aging military jets flying.

President Trump, who aggressively campaigned in the Midwest manufacturing belt railing against U.S. trade policy and a loss of U.S. factory jobs, signed an executive order last month to assess the nation’s defense industrial base, including manufacturing capacity and workforce development skill gaps.

White House officials said the assessment, due in 270 days since Trump signed the order, was a “whole-of-government” review involving the departments of Defense, Labor, Commerce, Energy and others to assess the health of manufacturing and the defense industrial base, and the most comprehensive look since the Eisenhower administration.

Since 2001, the U.S. has lost more than 60,000 factories and five million manufacturing jobs, according to Peter Navarro, director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.

“Certain types of military-grade semiconductors and printed circuit boards have become endangered species,” Navarro told reporters in a recent briefing. “Flat panel displays for aircraft and the processing of rare earth elements have left our shores entirely.”

EXCLUSIVE: Top Air Force general says ‘all programs are at risk’

‘Pulling out of a tailspin’

Now is “exactly the right time” for the defense and manufacturing study after sequestration-imposed spending reductions, said Andrew Hunter, director of the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

“We are just now pulling out of a tailspin, nose dive called sequestration which wreaked havoc on defense spending in general, but in particular wreaked havoc on the spending that Department of Defense does with its industrial base,” Hunter said.

Defense contract obligations reached a peak at $442 billion in 2008, which declined to $278 billion in 2015, or a drop of more than a third as judged in constant 2016 dollars, according to Hunter.

“Industry has borne a disproportionate share of the Department of Defense and that is obviously alarming if you care about the industrial base,” he added.

Defense experts cited concerns about finding skilled workers, potential vulnerabilities in the supply chain, and access to raw materials and components.

“We’ve lost some capabilities over the years through going offshore, through bad economies, through a changing industry base,” said Lloyd Fields, chief executive officer of defense contractor BasTech in Vandalia.

RELATED: Military must focus on technology, Wright-Patt top general says

The defense supply chain needs a better understanding of where components come from, said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. C.D. Moore, former commander of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

“One of the biggest risks is if you don’t know where all the components are coming from there is always the risk that either by malicious intent or not somebody could introduce either firmware or software into a system that could compromise the capability of the system,” he said.

The retired three-star general cited cyber security vulnerabilities in the defense industry as a major concern.

Who was hit hardest

Sequestration had a bigger impact in some areas of the defense sector than others, according to CSIS research.

“There are pockets of weakness in the industrial base, but it’s not uniform across all sectors,” Hunter said.

CSIS’s own assessment, still under way, showed “really severe and profound” impacts on Army acquisition of land vehicles, and a “whipsawing” effect in the aviation industry “that probably merits some investigation,” Hunter said.

After a downturn, Congress has upped the budget for the Air Force, he said.

Navy shipbuilding had the most stability on turbulent defense budget waters in recent years, Hunter said.

Commercial supply chains bolster the defense industrial base in some areas, but certain categories, such as building nuclear-powered submarines, are so specialized that there may be only one supplier, he added.

RELATED: AF Secretary in exclusive interview talks about BRAC, security threats

Little said the federal government has heightened regulation and oversight of contracts to curb costs as spending caps have squeezed the defense budget.

Keeping aging weapon systems like the F-16 and F/A-18 fighter jets flying is harder over time. Starwin, where defense contracts account for about half the company’s business, makes radomes that cover the radar in each aircraft. “Things that were common 40 years ago are difficult to find now so it adds to the costs,” Little said.

He is concerned parts manufactured for U.S. weapons in other countries could be withheld, and foreign suppliers or countries may be prompted to act because they disagree with U.S. actions.

“To me, it just shows a vulnerability,” said Little, past chairman of the Dayton Region Manufacturing Association.

Still, Hunter said there is a drawback if the nation relies solely on domestic suppliers in the defense base.

“The other factor is if you cut yourself entirely from international supply chains you’ve sacrificed some real significant capability,” Hunter said. “In the ‘60s, we could rest comfortable in the knowledge that the U.S. was essentially the cutting-edge leader in almost every significant area of defense-related technology in the world. That is not nearly as true today as it used to be. There are areas where other countries have the lead.”

In most cases, those technology leaders represent U.S. allies, he said.

Dayton’s defense industry

The Dayton area defense industry is recovering and “showing signs of strengthening” after the Great Recession and spending caps imposed under sequestration, according to David A. Burke, president of the Dayton Area Defense Contractors Association.

The defense industry has always had boom and bust cycles, experts said. But the region appears “to be past the low point and on the rise,” Burke said in an email.

“There were tough times during the low point of the recession and cuts, with some industry consolidation and contraction,” he wrote. “There are 10 to 20 (percent) fewer defense contractors in the region now, and the last base realignment and closure did not bring as many jobs as projected. But, research and development budgets have remained stable with modest growth, helping the community innovate and opening some opportunities for expansion.”

One shortcoming, Burke said, is “the marked increase of lowest price technically acceptable contract competitions” that have “reduced quality and innovation in many areas.” The industry is working to improve the situation, he said.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said Dayton was a “critical defense hub” for the country. Turner, chairman of the House Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, has Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in his congressional district.

“I’ve worked for years with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the surrounding communities to ensure we are bolstering our nation’s defense capacity,” he said in a statement to this newspaper. “I welcome this study on a national level to see how our country’s broader defense needs can be fulfilled most effectively. The first step towards rebuilding readiness should be quickly repealing the sequester of defense, which I will continue to advocate for in Congress.”

More local spending

In recent years, the Air Force has touted higher spending on local small businesses that has lifted area firms.

RELATED: Air Force redirects more money to small businesses

In one example, Air Force Research Laboratory obligations paid over several years to Ohio companies grew from $400.2 million in fiscal year 2013 to $552.6 million last year, according to the Dayton Development Coalition.

Much of that work is in the Dayton region.

AFRL is headquartered at Wright-Patterson, the largest single-site employer in Ohio with more than 27,000 employees and an estimated $4.3 billion economic impact.

RELATED: Wright-Patt economic impact on region up to $4.3 billion a year

Area defense contractors that work with the AFRL have maintained or grown their workforce, said John Ingham, Dayton Development Coalition vice president of aerospace programs.

“I believe if the defense budget is maintained or increased that will translate into additional jobs specifically in small businesses” that support aeronautical research and development, he said.

The area, a leading aerospace hub, has the fourth highest number of engineers per capita in the United States, he noted.

“… This region is ideally positioned to grow with increasing research and development dollars within the (Department of Defense) budget because of the brain power we have here,” he said.

The number of private sector civilian aerospace and defense workers in a 16-county region in and around the Dayton, Springfield and the Middletown-Hamilton area grew overall in a decade, according to a Wright State University Applied Policy Research Institute analysis.

In 2005, the region had 17,296 jobs in the category that grew to 18,751 jobs a decade later, the analysis showed. Projections estimate the number of jobs will reach 21,982 by 2025.

Among federal defense and government workers, the numbers showed growth initially, followed by a slight decline over the next decade.

The institute analysis estimated 26,727 federal civilian and military jobs in 2005 and 27,908 jobs a decade later. It projected 27,481 federal jobs in the region by 2025.

RELATED: Ohio leaders say funding will help protect Wright-Patt

Workforce gaps

Finding skilled workers in some specialties can be difficult, industry experts said.

Recruiting and hiring a software engineer with a top secret security clearance can take nearly two years at one local defense firm, a top company leader says, who noted waiting on the high-level security clearance alone can take more than 500 days.

There is such a demand hiring a software engineer quickly would mean hiring from another company, creating a gap somewhere else, said Scott Coale, executive vice president of defense services at Modern Technology Solutions, Inc., which conducts defense modeling and analysis at its Beavercreek office.

“We compete with Amazon, we compete with Microsoft” to attract those skilled workers, said Coale, a retired colonel and former vice commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson.

“I think that’s our biggest challenge here locally is to find that skilled workforce.”

RELATED: How can Ohio keep federal, military jobs?

Moore, a member of the Wright State University Board of Trustees, said area colleges and universities focus on preparing workers for manufacturing and small businesses in the defense industry.

The industry has worked locally with universities and community-based science, technology, engineering and math education initiatives to attempt to fill STEM jobs, Burke said.

But the region needs more graduates with security clearance credentials to meet demand, some said.

“We are not graduating enough students in science and engineering eligible to obtain security clearances,” Burke said.

Unmatched coverage

The Dayton Daily News is committed to in-depth coverage of defense and manufacturing, two key drivers of the Miami Valley economy. For more military news, like Dayton Daily News reporter Barrie Barber’s DDN Facebook page and follow him on twitter at @barriebarber.