|By Mark Williams, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio|
"It was honestly a no-brainer because of the opportunity that exists," he said, noting the depth of the bank's operations in central
Salehi, who runs
"It's extremely livable," said Salehi, 39, who came to
In a region that has 60,600 financial-services jobs, which include banking, insurance and related endeavors, Salehi's story isn't unusual.
Even though the number is below the peak of 62,500 a decade ago, the industry has been rebounding from the deep recession of the past decade. Over the past three years, central
Despite the slight decline compared with a decade ago, the region still maintains a much larger number of financial-services jobs than is the norm. According to calculations by economist
The insurance industry is especially deep, with employment nearly twice the norm, he said.
When Chase acquired
Chase has become the largest private employer in the region with 19,500 employees, more than twice the number of employees as
Chase employment has grown here as the bank continues to clean up the foreclosure mess and make acquisitions, such as a deal to buy
While Chase is the biggest private employer in the
Nationwide and smaller insurers such as State Auto, Motorists Mutual, Grange and
Other big banks and insurers such as PNC, Fifth Third,
Whether the sector can add to its gains this year may depend on Chase's recent announcement that it plans to cut 19,000 jobs by the end of 2014. The bank has not said how the reductions, which amount to 7 percent of the bank's total staff of 260,000 employees, will affect the region.
At the same time, the state's insurance industry has launched a campaign to fill what is expected to be 17,000 openings through 2018 caused by a combination of retiring baby boomers and industry growth.
The insurance and financial industries play a critical role in the regional economy, said
"It's in line with the kind of talent we have, but it's outsized versus other places that are similar to us," he said.
Nationwide started as an insurance company for farmers in the 1920s and now has 9,000 employees just Downtown and a total of 11,000 in central
The growth of
The company has 11,800 employees in the Midwest and continues to expand. It bought the defunct
Maybe most important now, the banking and insurance companies that already have set up operations here serve as a draw for other companies, LaFayette said.
"As these companies grow, they attract a work force and help to build an information-technology infrastructure, which makes it a really nice environment for companies that aren't based here … to set up shop," LaFayette said. "They know the work force they need and its structure."
Despite their already large presence, banks and insurance companies say they remain able to recruit staff and that they have created ties with universities throughout the state for helping to provide a pipeline of new staff.
"They want to do work that matters," he said.
McDonald said he doesn't worry about the region becoming overly dependent on the finance and insurance businesses. He said there is diversity even within the companies that are focused within these sectors.
"We have proven capabilities, existing facilities and inroads to getting more talent."
(c)2013 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
Visit The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio) at www.dispatch.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services