County employment 'healthy' as employment 'numbers are up'

Zoe Greszler • Jun 14, 2018 at 2:00 AM

Huron County saw a “healthy” year when it comes to employment, with plenty of growth.

Industry sectors like health care, manufacturing and construction have seen the steady employment growth, according to a recent report provided by the Huron County Development Council (HCDC).

The Huron County Top Employers of 2017 report listed the county’s top employers, those with the largest employee bodies. Coming out on top of the top 26 companies was Fisher-Titus Medical Center, followed by LSC Communication (the former RR Donnelley), MTD Products/Midwest Industries, Pepperidge Farms/Campbell Soup and Huron County government.

The exact number of employees for each company were not released for confidentiality reasons.

Carol Knapp said in her seven years as HCDC executive director, they’ve been able to use this report, which they provide for the Huron County Auditor, to keep an eye on industry growth as well as the health of individual businesses. 

She said overall, employee “numbers are up” and the county employment saw good growth in 2017.

“When you look at it, maybe we have somebody that was at the top 10 years ago, but now they’re not even on the list. We can look at that and say, ‘Wow, what happened there?’” Knapp said.

“We can talk with the company then and maybe they’ll say ‘Oh, we lost a contract and the work, but now we have a new contract and now we’re on the upswing.’ It allows us to have those conversations and to keep up with the business community and how things are going.”

She said it also reveals the how strong and healthy the community is — a good thing for Huron County this year.

“It gives us a good idea of the health of the community,” Knapp said. “I would say we’re looking very healthy. You have the diversity of the industries, employee numbers are increasing and we different industries that are considered high-growth industries and we have that growth there (in) health care and manufacturing especially.

“I think this shows we have a very diverse base.” 

Knapp said it’s helpful to look on years past and see the county’s employment and industry trends. 

“We’ve been doing this since the 1980s,” she said. “It’s helpful because if you look at the list you can see the different industry sectors (the county’s) strong in. Like we’re strong in health care, with the two hospitals in the top employers. That makes sense. Then we have (a lot of) companies in manufacturing and the construction and government on the list.”

Of the different industry sectors, the largest representative was manufacturing with 12 of the 26 companies claiming this industry. Four companies were of the construction sector, three from railroad/transportation, two each in health care and government and one each in education (Norwalk City Schools) and retail (Walmart).  

Though it’s not represented in the industry sectors, Knapp said if agriculture were among those reported on, it would probably have taken the No. 1 slot.

“Agriculture is actually our leading sector, but agriculture is not on that list of industries to report,” she said. “We've never obtained those numbers from the farm community. ... We’re working on growing a better relationship with the farmers and that community.”

Knapp said the agriculture industry has a “significant” impact on the community and its employment, particularly when counting seasonal employees, which Knapp said the Bureau of Labor Statistics takes into account for each county. 

The top employers throughout the county, in order of companies with the highest number of employees, followed by the company’s industry sector, are:

Fisher-Titus Medical Center, health care

LSC Communication (formerly RR Donnelley), manufacturing —printing

MTD Products/Midwest Industries, manufacturing - outdoor power equipment

Pepperidge Farms/Campbell Soup, manufacturing

Huron County, government

CSX Transportation, railroad

Venture Packaging/Berry Global, manufacturing

Norwalk City Schools, education

R&L Carriers, transportation

Walmart, retail

Norwalk City, government

New Horizons Baking Company, manufacturing 

Wilbert Plastic Services, manufacturing

Mercy Health — Willard Hospital, health care

Norwalk Custom Order Furniture, manufacturing

Norweco, manufacturing

Janotta & Herner, construction

Lakepark Industries Inc., manufacturing

Gaymont Nursing Homes, health care

Odlesby Construction, construction

Lake Erie Construction, construction

Olympus, manufacturing

Norwalk Southern Corporation, railroad

Polyone Corporation, manufacturing

David Price Metals, manufacturing

Underground Utilities, construction

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