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Greater Cincinnati is attracting more workers from larger cities, Chamber study says

 Part of the Downtown Cincinnati skyline is visible reflecting in the Ohio River, from near the base of the Roebling Suspension Bridge in Covington.
Bill Rinehart
The Cincinnati Regional Chamber has identified a couple of challenges for local employers: attracting younger workers to replace retiring ones, and keeping housing affordable.

The Cincinnati area has always drawn people from other communities. But a new report from the Regional Chamber's Center for Research and Data says where they're coming from has changed. Director Brandon Rudd says this is a metropolitan area that has grown steadily over the years.

"We've never lost population," he says. "For years and years, decades actually, the city of Cincinnati itself was losing population, and Hamilton County actually was also losing population. Those trends have been reversed. They're both gaining population."

He says it used to be many people moved to Cincinnati from smaller Ohio towns.

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"We're attracting more and more folks from New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago," he says. "And what we've heard from people is that they're attracted to Cincinnati because we have those big city amenities that they're used to, but we maybe don't have the traffic or the high housing costs or things like that."

Rudd says the Chamber recognizes the need for new housing at all affordability levels and is pushing for zoning reforms so the area can continue to grow.

"A strength of ours is that we are affordable and that we have those amenities at a more affordable price point," he says. "We don't want to get into a situation like some cities have where it's just become impossible to affording housing in those places, and then that hinders our overall growth."

Rudd says the Tri-State has unemployment lower than the national average, and an age gap. That means there are are more older than younger workers. He says that could hurt business growth in the future.

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The numbers come from a labor market analysis from the Chamber's Center for Research and Data. Rudd says this was the first of what will be a biannual release.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.