Magazine: Dayton No. 1 in business recruitment, expansion

Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013 @ 3:09 PM
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 @ 4:24 PM

Site Selection magazine and website is preparing to rank the Dayton area at No. 1 on its list of metro areas drawing new business facilities and enabling business expansions among metropolitan areas with populations of 200,000 to one million people.

The annual ranking is based on research by the staff of the magazine and website, said Mark Arend, Site Selection’s editor in chief.

The ranking can be seen as good publicity for the area and the state.

“It’s great to see Dayton getting national recognition for its job creation efforts,” Connie Wehrkamp, a spokeswoman for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, said Thursday. “It’s a reflection of Ohio’s success statewide to get back on track. We’ve got more work to do, but we’re all making progress.”

“It has to do with the number of qualified projects in the area,” Arend said.

The ranking will be published on Site Selection’s website today and a press release announcement is set to be released Monday, Arend said.

In Site Selection’s March 2012 issue, Dayton was tied at No. 2 on that year’s list for metro areas of 200,000-1 million, second to Baton Rouge, La. and tied with Tulsa, Okla.

Among large metropolitan areas, greater Houston was ranked No. 1 last year.

Site Selection has lauded Ohio in the past, ranking the state No. 4 on its list of the “top 10 business climates” in 2009, an improvement of three spots from the previous year.

Site Selection is a publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council that it is published six times a year and distributed to “over 44,000 executives responsible for site selection and facility planning decisions around the world.”

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Many veterans still struggle to find work

Published: Monday, May 29, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

After 26 years in the Army, Matt Isenbart of Riverside is in school at Wright State University. The retired sergeant first class is embarking on a new career in human resources. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

Joshua L. Bush had eight years in the Army under his belt, serving as a tank crew member during two combat deployments to Iraq, when he left the military and began looking for work.

After six months, the 28-year-old Dayton native finally found a job, as a bartender.

For veterans like Bush, it’s a familiar refrain. No matter how skilled they may have been in uniform, those skills aren’t always readily apparent to hiring managers in the civilian workforce.

» RELATED: Job hunting veterans fight PTSD stigma

“Nothing translates from being a tanker to going back into real life,” said Bush, who now lives in Huber Heights and is attending Wright State University. “It was hard for me to even get a job doing minuscule stuff. It was hard for me to get a job in general.”

The unemployment rate for veterans is slightly better than the rate for non-veterans, those with little education still suffer. For veterans who served after 2001 and do not have a high school degree, the unemployment rate is 8.8 percent.

Some veterans, particularly those who served after Sept. 11, 2001, say they fight a stigma of post-traumatic stress and other ailments because of their involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I think an uneducated employer may link those conditions they think are not the best for their organization,” said Timothy Espich, a Greene County veterans services officer. “A lot of that comes from a lack of understanding,”

Veterans and civilian jobs

Seth E. Gordon, director of WSU’s Veteran & Military Center, said employers should value military experience just as job seekers with a college degree.

“For most people in the military, they come out with a high level of experience compared to their peers,” he said. “A 22-year-old that was a tank commander in Afghanistan or Iraq is much different than a 22-year-old who just graduated with a liberal arts degree.”

“These are people who are managing millions of dollars of equipment and people and when they get out they’re told, ‘Well, you could be a barista,’” Gordon said. “The civilian world is not recognizing that training as being valid because they don’t have that marker that’s the college degree.”

A retired Army sergeant first class who deployed twice to Iraq said young veterans often have important leadership experience their peers don’t.

“Someone who especially spends 10 or more years in the military is at least a junior leader and there’s a great responsibility placed on that person at a young age,” said Matt Isenbart, 48, of Riverside. “A person could be 22 years old and be responsible for three or four people and have to tell them to do things that can place them in grave danger, and those are big responsibilities for someone who is basically just becoming an adult.”

One Miami Valley employer, Synchrony Financial, says many veterans who work there do not need a college degree, but they may gain one paid in part through a company tuition reimbursement program.

“We leverage our veterans network members, many of whom are veterans themselves, to help us with recruitment and translating military skills into role alignment,” Liz Heitner, a company human resources senior vice president, said in a statement.

The company, which has a large customer call center, employs about 1,900 employees in Kettering.

Translatable skills

A bill in the Ohio legislature would make credentialing military skills easier in the civilian workforce.

“Ohio has taken steps to get certification (credentials)” for military service members and their spouses, said Caroline Biers, director of the Butler County Veterans Service Commission. “If you were a corpsman or a medic in the military, a lot of times those things that you learned could not be translated into civilian terms.”

» RELATED: Military spouses struggle to find work

Translating what a service member did in uniform into civilian language is another barrier many veterans face.

“There’s many ways to translate those skills,” said Cassie B. Barlow, director of the Aerospace Professional Development Center at Wright State University and a former Wright-Patterson base commander. “Oftentimes, it just takes the right person who understands what that individual did in their military service to be able to help them write that resume and help them translate those skills.”

Isenbart spent 26 years in the military and had difficulty at first learning to speak in “civilian tongue,” he said.

“I had some difficulty when I was hired in the civilian sector changing my tone and my verbiage and everything from the military to civilian language,” he said. “In the military, we speak a different language and sometimes it’s difficult to transition from speaking military tongue to speaking civilian tongue and that causes a little confusion sometimes.”

After leaving the military, Isenbart said he worked in the parts office at a tractor-trailer dealership, had a temporary job as a veterans outreach coordinator and was later downsized as an ROTC instructor because of program restructuring.

He is now enrolled at Wright State and hopes to get a business degree.

STEM jobs boost vets

Many veterans are attending college through the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which provides tuition assistance and other benefits to those who qualify. In fiscal year 2016, 784,111 students were using benefits through the program, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs.

While college is still a great pathway to a profitable career, experts say, those without a college degree can still earn big pay if their training includes one of the so-called STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math, said Rosalinda V. Maury, director of applied research at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.

In her research findings for the years between 2010 to 2014, a veteran with a high school diploma or a general equivalency degree in a STEM job earned about $70,000 annually, Maury said, while a non-veteran with the same education level earned about $54,000.

Veterans in non-STEM fields earned about $46,000 compared to non-veterans who earned $32,000 a year, she said.

» RELATED: Vets struggle to find jobs in Ohio

While departing service members go through transition assistance programs, many Ohio veterans aren’t aware of the services available to them when they come home, said Espich, the Greene County veterans’ service officer.

Ohio offers job search and transportation help, financial aid, and aids veterans trying to receive college credit or job credentials for their time in uniform, he said.

“A lot of times when they leave they don’t know about those benefits whatsoever,” he said.

A place to start would be veterans services offices, which are in all 88 counties in Ohio, officials said.

» RELATED: Local war hero who rescued hundreds from Korean orphanage dies at 97 

» RELATED: The missing: 7 facts about the more than 82,000 service members never heard from again 

» RELATED: A family’s peace: Siblings end search for answers in Vietnam War death 

» RELATED: A World War II veteran’s story of love 

Veteran unemployment

Here’s a snapshot of U.S. unemployment data for veterans compared to their non-veteran workforce peers in 2016.

Veteran unemployment rate for those with:

• Less than a high school diploma = 6.4%

• High school graduates, no college = 4.9%

• Some college or associate degree = 4.6%

• College graduates = 3.3%

Post-9/11 Veteran unemployment rate for those with:

• Less than a high school diploma = 8.8%

• High school graduates, no college = 5.7%

• Some college or associate degree = 4.8%

• College graduates = 3.0%

Non-veteran unemployment rate for those with:

• Less than a high school diploma = 9.1%

• High school graduates, no college = 6.3%

• Some college or associate degree = 4.6%

• College graduates = 2.6%

SOURCE: Institute for Veterans & Military Families Center at Syracuse University (Statistics based on federal data.)

By the numbers

784,111: Number of students who took advantage of the Post-911 GI Bill in fiscal 2016.

$70,000: Annual average salary for a veteran with a high school diploma or a general equivalency degree in a STEM job.

$46.000: Annual average salary for veterans in a non-STEM field.

88: Number of counties with a veterans service office where veterans can get information on available benefits and programs. 

3 Reasons most stock pickers don’t beat the market

Published: Sunday, May 28, 2017 @ 5:48 PM

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) the morning after Donald Trump won a major upset in the presidential election on November 9, 2016 in New York City. Global markets originally dropped after Trump began to pull ahead of his rival Hillary Clinton. In morning trading The Dow was down slightly. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Staff Writer

It’s always been tough to be a successful stock picker on Wall Street.

It’s not that mutual fund managers can’t beat the market, but it’s very difficult to do so year in and year out: Large-cap stocks have delivered long-term, annual realized returns of about 7% after inflation during the past 100-plus years. For the 15-year stretch through December 2016, 92% of U.S. large-cap, actively managed equity funds underperformed the S&P 500, according to data collected by S&P Dow Indices.

Even during April, the 25th best month of performance in the past 26 years for such large-cap managers, only 63% of mutual funds beat their respective benchmarks, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

And the pressure on stock pickers is mounting because of exchange-traded funds, which feature lower trading costs and returns that are often competitive with or better than those of professionally managed funds.

» The Best Strategies for Investing

Debating investing in individual equities or actively managed funds versus passive vehicles, such as ETFs? Here’s why it’s so difficult to pick a winner.

The fee hurdle

Before ETFs became so popular, mutual fund managers faced a simpler task: Pick stocks that performed better than the overall market, ideally better than the stocks their competitors picked. But with more investment choices comes more pressure. Active managers must now outperform by enough to make up for their funds’ higher costs relative to ETFs.

That additional burden can be significant. Equity mutual funds charged an average of 1.28% in annual administrative expenses — or what’s called an expense ratio — in 2016, compared with the 0.52% charged by the average equity ETF, according to data from the Investment Company Institute.

To match investors’ expectations from ETF returns, some portfolio managers create funds that mimic an index without completely duplicating it — what’s known as closet indexing. That can result in bloated or overly diversified portfolios that get dragged down by less-than-stellar picks. In addition, mutual fund managers often impose high redemption fees to discourage short-term trading, typically defined as holding shares for less than a year.

But costs alone don’t explain why stock pickers face such a challenge. Dynamics within the market also are partly to blame.

» 5 Ways to Put a Windfall to Good Use

Market correlation

When unrelated assets move in lock-step — what’s known as correlation — it’s that much harder for stock pickers to find the ones that will go up even more than the average.

The past seven years have been tough in this regard. Among the 11 sectors of the S&P 500, the average correlation to the broader index ranged from 70% to 95% between 2009 and 2016, before dipping to as low as 57% in February and March, according to figures compiled by Convergex, a U.S. brokerage firm.

This has provided “some oxygen for active managers to outperform,” wrote Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at Convergex, in an April report. Even Goldman Sachs has proclaimed the current market conditions —  notably rising return dispersion — as a potential boon to skillful stock pickers.

» How to Spend (or Invest) Your Tax Return

The problem is, if analysts are right, these dynamics are likely temporary, which puts the longer-term fate of stock picking at peril. And remember, in addition to beating the market, active managers must also provide better returns than a comparable ETF to make up for their higher fees.

‘An inherent disadvantage’

One theory got some buzz earlier this year: The odds are stacked in favor of indexes, and it’s not a fair fight for stock pickers.

Returns for a particular index are heavily skewed to a few of its biggest winners, so a portfolio manager generally must invest in these stocks just to keep up with the index’s performance. Picking a subset of stocks increases the odds those picks will underperform versus the index, according to a 2015 paper written by J.B. Heaton, Nick Polson and Jan Hendrik Witte, with a February update by Hendrik Bessembinder of Arizona State University.

“Active managers do not start out on an even playing field with passive investing. Rather, active managers must overcome an inherent disadvantage,” the authors concluded. And Bessembinder notes that compounding only increases that disadvantage over time.

What’s an investor to do?

There are many advantages of index-based funds and ETFs for individual investors. But that doesn’t mean you should dump all of your individual equities or actively managed funds and convert to just any passive vehicle. Not all index funds and ETFs are created alike. There are even some actively managed ETFs which come with higher fees.

Still, the explosion of these assets has given investors more options. If you’re dissatisfied with the longer-term performance of your mutual funds, consider making the switch. Do your homework first, paying attention to fees, commissions and the assets included in the ETFs you’re considering.

If you think you can beat the odds stacked against professional stock pickers, tread with caution. Don’t invest with money you’ll need for short-term expenses or put your entire retirement nest egg at stake.

Anna-Louise Jackson is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: ajackson@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @aljax7.

Manufacturers desperate for workers of the future

Published: Friday, May 26, 2017 @ 10:45 AM

The need for skilled manufacturing workers is so acute, the CEO of Moraine’s Rack Processing Co. Inc. struck a deal last year nearly unheard of in the industry.

Faced with the possibility of losing a customer because he didn’t have enough workers to fulfill an order, he borrowed five employees from another local company for about six weeks.

“I think most of us are struggling,” said Jim Bowman, vice president and chief operating officer of Moraine’s Rack Processing Co. Inc. To secure the workers, Bowman had to promise not to hire them permanently.

RELATED: Dayton products play big part in Ohio manufacturing growth

Manufacturers are in a crisis, but it’s not the same problem that resulted in thousands of jobs to disappear in a downsizing that threatened the economic health of a state once known for its crowded factory floors.

Not all the lost jobs have come back, but a lot of them have and companies like Rack Processing say they no longer have a shortage of jobs. They have a shortage of qualified workers.

RELATEDWorld watches as Fuyao makes historic investment

The need is acutely felt and widespread: The Dayton area and West Central Ohio are home to about 2,500 manufacturers trying to fill some 3,400 new positions every year, said Jon Foley, a trustee of the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association, which has members in 14 counties.

From 2015 to 2025, the DRMA expects an average of 3,301 annual manufacturing openings in its service area.

Some put that number higher. Steve Staub, co-owner of Harrison Twp.’s Staub Manufacturing Solutions, said area manufacturing openings are closer to 4,000.

RELATEDDayton manufacturers ID top concerns

Manufacturers are facing a trio of problems simultaneously: Jobs today are more technically demanding; manufacturing workers tend to be older, with many retiring; and insufficient numbers of young people are considering manufacturing as a lifelong career.

“It’s the perfect storm that we’re having,” said Scot McLemore, manager of talent acquisition and deployment for Honda North America.

In March, manufacturers posted approximately 394,000 job openings nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a 246 percent increase since the Great Recession ended.

A January 2017 report from business consultant Deloitte says the problem will likely get worse: It anticipates a shortage of two million manufacturing workers in the next decade.

“It’s really more than one problem,” said Eric Burkland, president of the Ohio Manufacturers Association.

The struggle

Last year, one of Rack Processing’s newest customers gave the company an ultimatum: Produce a set number of racks weekly or lose our business, Bowman recalled.

RELATEDCanadian manufacturer talks 100+ jobs, second building

“It was significant enough that we needed like 30 percent more employees immediately,” he said.

The pressure forced Bowman to strike a “very” unusual deal. Rack Processing temporarily borrowed five workers from another local company for about six weeks.

That arrangement barely gave the company enough time to permanently hire other workers.

RELATEDBudde family manufacturing in Dayton for nearly 100 years

“I think it wouldn’t have worked if there had not been a lot of trust between the two contacts,” Bowman said.

Staub recalled reviewing a project for an aerospace customer recently. While reviewing job requirements, that customer’s message to Staub was simple.

“They flat out told us that if we can’t meet their requirements, we were not going to get the job,” Staub said. “It’s concerning.”

‘Quite a challenge’

Each year, the area manufacturing association surveys members on their top concerns. And each year, workforce issues rise to the top of that list, weightier than taxes, health care costs and trade issues.

“There is no more denial,” Burkland said. “There is an awareness now that we have to change how we manage career pipelines and how we recruit talent.”

Local manufacturing growth is happening in a region that hasn’t experienced explosive population growth. Ohio as a state has grown slower than 38 other states, growing by only about 9,000 people from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016 — an increase of just .07 percent. The Census put the city of Dayton’s population in 2015 as 140,599, down more than 1,000 from its 2010 population of 141,761.

It’s a common lament among most if not all employers: Good help is hard to find.

But it’s a constantly expressed refrain among manufacturers.

“Manufacturers seem to be talking about it as much if not more than others,” said Phil Parker, president and chief executive of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and a member of a state committee on workforce issues, the governor’s Executive Workforce Board.

The problem is so bad locally, DRMA is about to launch a $1 million fund-raising campaign to try to address the problem, hoping to spark greater cooperation between companies and educators.

One reason for the struggle is a phenomenon most people actually welcome: Big manufacturers are taking root in the Miami Valley — and they’re hiring.

In recent years, Fuyao Glass America has hired more than 1,500 production workers in Moraine, with about 500 more managers and supervisors. Diesel truck engine producer DMAX, also in Moraine, has been on a hiring spree. A new company, Canadian auto parts manufacturer Hematite, is about to break ground for its own plant in Englewood, where 100 people will work.

Medical equipment manufacturers NuVasive in West Carrollton and Norwood Medical in Dayton, among others, seem to have an endless appetite for workers.

“Those companies are usually the glamour companies, and they do a great job and they have deeper pockets to do some of that marketing and advertising to get workers,” Bowman said.

The problem: Most manufacturers are small, family-owned businesses with maybe 50 or fewer employees, Bowman said. The retirement of even a few workers can be a “big number” for those companies, he said.

And manufacturing workers today tend to be older, according to the Manufacturing Institute, citing federal labor data. In 2000, the median age of the manufacturing workforce — 40.5 — was 1.1 years above the median age of the total non-farm workforce. By 2012, this gap doubled, with the median age in manufacturing being 44.7 years, above the 42.3 years for the total non-farm workforce, the institute said.

“All of those employees are now phasing themselves out, they’re retiring,” DRMA’s Foley said. “There’s a big gap in there that we’re trying to fill.”

“As the older generation moves out, the younger generation isn’t moving into those type of careers,” Bowman said.

‘Certain stigmas and misperceptions’

Ryan Burgess, director of Gov. John Kasich’s Office of Workforce Transformation, knows it’s a problem that keeps company owners up at night.

“When you talk to business owners, the No. 1 issue you’re probably going to hear is workforce,” Burgess said. “That is a pretty consistent feedback across the state.”

Too often, the field is associated with dirty, dead-end jobs. But that’s an outdated view, advocates say.

“When you look at certain industries, especially around the skilled trades, are there certain stigmas and misperceptions of the jobs out there?” Burgess said. “I think yeah.”

Manufacturing advocates struggle against that, arguing that today manufacturing is clean, technical and a pathway to a good life.

“They don’t see behind the scenes of manufacturing,” Bowman said. “They don’t know that there’s a lot of good, high-tech, math- and science-oriented type jobs that are out there.”

“If we can better align businesses and education, we can start to address some of those stereotypes,” Burgess said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics put average hourly earnings for non-supervisory production workers in April 2017 at $20.72, with an average of just under 42 hours per week.

That’s above the average hourly wage of $20.39 in April 2016, which itself is above the average of $19.80 in April 2015.

In fact, the wage has steadily risen since an average of $17.20 in April 2007, a decade ago, according to the BLS.

Skills hard and soft

It’s not just “hard” skills such as machining or programming computer controlled machines that manufacturers need in prospective employees. “Soft” skills also bedevil employers. “Skills” such as simply coming to work on time, staying at work — and being able to pass a drug test.

“They still have many people who are not, repeat not, passing drug tests,” Parker said.

In the manufacturing jobs of old, people didn’t require a lot of specialized training.

“I’m trying to get them (state leaders) to understand, we need to put more resources into these areas, into the high schools,” Parker said.

“High school, college-age — it needs to start younger than that,” said Brian Ault, industrial sales manager for Bruns General Contracting. “I think it needs to start at the elementary level. We need to at least talk about manufacturing at that age.”

Honda invites middle-school and high-school students into its Central Ohio plants for field trips and manufacturing days, taking the opportunity to showcase the jobs as clean, well-paying and anchored in math and science, Honda’s McLemore said.

“We felt we needed to change the conversation,” he said.

In all, Honda has training partnerships with six Ohio colleges — including Sinclair Community College, Clark State, Edison State, among others— and three Central Ohio high schools.

Filling openings will also require reaching older adults, men and women in lower-skilled work who want to improve their lives, Burkland and others said.

Education, increased awareness and better awareness can all help. But no one believes the problem can be solved easily or quickly. However, Burkland, for his part, says he is optimistic.

“This is the No. 1 issue by far,” he said. “If we don’t have the talent in our workplaces, then we don’t businesses to operate.”

Dayton-area manufacturers (in the 14-county Dayton Region Manufacturers Association service area)

2,476 companies

123,892 employees

$8.8 billion annual payroll

$2.1 billion economic development

$48.2 billion annual sales

National wages, as of April 2017

$20.72, with an average of nearly 42 hours per week.

That’s above the average of $20.39 in April 2016 and $19.80 in April 2015.

Sources: Dayton Region Manufacturing Association, Bureau of Labor Statistics

34 retailers likely to close or go broke before the end of 2017

Published: Sunday, May 28, 2017 @ 1:03 PM

Via @tvnewzguy / Twitter

The bloodbath at retail that’s seen more than 3,600 stores closures announced since January isn’t over yet.

We could reach the 10,000 store-closure mark by the end of the year, according to credit consulting service F&D Reports.

Read more: 2017 retail closings — What you need to know

Which retailers are next to fall?

F&D’s research has identified 34 retailers suffering from poor sales and too much overhead that it says will likely announces more store closures en masse or bankruptcy filings before the year is out.

  • Shopko
  • National Stores
  • Forever 21
  • Charming Charlie
  • Fresh Market
  • Bloomin’ Brands
  • Ascena
  • Tailored Brands
  • Rent-A-Center
  • Bravo Brio
  • Trans World
  • Fred’s
  • Rite-Aid
  • Conn’s
  • Tuesday Morning
  • Guitar Center
  • GNC
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Toys R Us
  • Sears Hometown
  • J. Crew
  • Noodles and Co.
  • Lumber Liquidators
  • Charlotte Russe
  • Bon-Ton Stores
  • Tops Markets
  • Claire’s
  • Ruby Tuesday
  • Sears Holdings
  • 99 Cents Only
  • Ignite
  • Perfumania
  • Le Chateau
  • Gymboree

It’s not just Amazon killing the brick-and-mortar stores!

We should note that some of the stores listed here — SearsBloomin’ Brands and Ruby Tuesday, in particular — have announced anywhere from dozens to more than 150 store closures this year already.

Meanwhile, it’s been widely reported that others like Gymboree and J. Crew are facing imminent bankruptcy.

Yet in the midst of all the media coverage, one important point is sometimes overlooked: It’s not just Amazon killing off the brick-and-mortars. It’s also that we’re way “over-stored” in the United States, as money expert Clark Howard would say.

“We have far too many retail locations, shopping centers and branches of different chains,” the consumer champ notes. “But stores that are meeting your needs with low prices will continue to thrive.”

The sad truth for ailing retailers is that we have 24 square feet of retail space for every person in the United States, according to F&D.

By comparison, Canada — the next country on the list with the most retail space — has 16 sq. ft. of retail space per capita.

Australia — the third most heavily retailed country in the world — has only 11 sq. ft. That’s less than half the square footage of retail space per capita that we have!

Read more: Lidl — Aldi’s archrival — announces first store openings

Liquidation sales underway at 138 J.C. Penney locations

Other stories you might like from Clark Howard: