James R. Geuther

President, Northeast Ohio Region

JPMorgan Chase

As Election Day approaches, candidates continue to focus on the state of our economy (a nonpartisan issue that impacts everyone). Employment is a critical piece to this challenge, and although statistics have stalled in certain parts of the country, the unemployment rate has increased in other parts.

Weíve actually seen a decrease in unemployment in the Greater Akron area during the last quarter. Itís surprising to learn that some local employers have open positions but are struggling to fill them. After speaking with numerous business owners across a variety of industries, Iíve learned that many are kept up at night because of the challenge of finding qualified candidates that meet the requirements for the work. Of course, employers prefer candidates with the right training and preparation. However, what most employers seek first is attitude before aptitude.

In addition to job training and readiness, I see major changes forthcoming in the economic model. Our nationís economy must be purposefully restructured from one focused inward and characterized by excessive consumption and debt, to one that is globally engaged and driven by production and innovation. A growing chorus of leaders is calling for a new growth model ó one that creates more and better jobs by engaging rising global demand and attracting global talent and capital. These leaders recognize that only by harnessing the power of metropolitan areas like Greater Akron can we hope to foster job growth in the near term and restructure our economy for the long haul.