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Humans are stubborn creatures. Many of us are uncomfortable with change.

In our anxiety about an evolving jobs landscape and reluctance to move away from the jobs that sustained our communities for generations, we forget just how far we have come — in a relatively short time.

But a Stacker report published by WCMH-TV in Columbus took a look at what U.S. Census Bureau data shows were the top 15 jobs in Ohio 150 years ago.

Were you employed in the Buckeye State in 1870, it is likely you were working in one of these fields: 1) farmers and planters; 2) agricultural laborers; 3) laborers (not specified); 4) domestic servants; 5) carpenters and joiners; 6) tailors, tailoresses and seamstresses; 7) clerks in stores; 8) miners; 9) teachers; 10) blacksmiths; 11) employees of railroad companies (not clerks); 12) boot and shoe makers; 13) draymen, hackmen, teamsters; 14) masons — brick and stone; and 15) painters and varnishers.

According to Stacker, nationwide more than 47 percent of all employed people over the age of 10 — yes, 10 — were working in agricultural jobs at the time. It’s easy to look at how different employment was back then, but a little harder to acknowledge employment now is also very different from what it was in 1970.

Rather than spend so much time pining for the jobs of a couple of generations ago, it is important for public officials, educators and families to embrace new possibilities. Light manufacturing, software and technology, renewable energy sources, health care, telecommunications and aircraft mechanics are just a few of the fields that are changing the way Ohio works, right now.

Next month, Ohio will present In-Demand Jobs Week, during which “we shine a light on career opportunities that give job seekers a path toward new, high-paying jobs in fields where Ohio businesses are hiring immediately,” according to Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

Families should embrace the opportunity to help students explore possibilities that stray from the path taken by previous generations. And those who find themselves searching for a job after years of work should take the chance to see whether available training programs could help them jump into one of those new fields, too.

Ohio has a bright future ahead, as our employment landscape changes. All we need to do is embrace it.



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