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Editor's Note: If you're a Walmart greeter — or know someone who is — and would like to share your story with NPR, please reach out to us at tech@npr.org.

If you ask John Combs what his biggest worry is, he'll say: "How will I feed Red?"

Red is actually white. He's a labradoodle rescue, just tall enough for Combs to pet if he reaches over the armrest of his wheelchair. Combs, 42, has cerebral palsy. He has difficulty speaking. But he has no difficulty saying the line most Americans have heard at least once: "Welcome to Walmart!"

Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted was in Cleveland Monday on the first leg of what he's calling his week-long "Statewide Workforce Tour." The goal is to highlight vocational training programs that provide pathways to well-paying jobs. 

Speaking with executives and students at Tech Elevator, a computer coding school in Cleveland, Husted asked what the state can do to support programs like it. One suggestion: stop requiring bachelor's degrees for state government jobs that focus on computer programming. Husted was receptive to the idea.

Paul Sableman / Flickr

Dressed in an entirely pink outfit, Christina Bogardus is hunched over a computer at the Linden branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. She says she comes here often to watch videos, chat online with friends, and over the last couple of months, apply for jobs.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
John Minchillo / Associated Press

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) visited Dayton on Wednesday to meet with more than 20 local business leaders and state legislators about workforce development. Portman is promoting a number of measures aimed at connecting highly skilled workers with open jobs around the state.

Updated at 9:27 a.m. ET

Job growth picked up for the 100th consecutive month in January even as hundreds of thousands of federal workers were furloughed during the partial government shutdown, the Labor Department said Friday.

Employers added 304,000 jobs last month — topping analysts' expectations and the 223,000 average monthly gain in 2018. The string of job growth underscores the long economic expansion since the Great Recession.

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers received their first partial paychecks this week as the government reopened Monday after a 35-day partial shutdown.

Some 400,000 workers had been furloughed, and another 400,000 had been on the job but were not getting paid.

While the financial costs for those workers were high, the shutdown also took a heavy toll on employee morale. And it may have the longer-term impact of making it more difficult to bring new people into the government.

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees around the country are returning to work after being furloughed for more than a month. Thousands of others in the federal workforce did work during the 35-day shutdown but didn't get paid.

The Trump administration promises that by Friday federal workers will be paid the two consecutive paychecks that were missed as a result of the government being shuttered.

When the Chemours chemical plant in New Johnsonville, Tenn., needed workers to maintain its high-tech machinery, it advertised for them as far as 90 miles away in Nashville in one direction and 150 miles away in Memphis on the other.

It still couldn't fill the jobs.

Around 7,000 federal workers in Ohio aren’t receiving paychecks because of the government shutdown. And none of them will be offered unemployment checks from the state either.

Ohio Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine reviews his prepared comments ahead of a primary election night event, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio.
Bryan Woolston / Associated Press

For the first time in eight years, Ohio gets a new governor on Monday. Its 70th governor, to be exact. But Mike DeWine is hardly a new face for Ohioans.

Neil Conway / Flickr

A quarter of Ohio jobs are legally off limits for anyone with a criminal conviction, according to a new report from the left-leaning think tank Policy Matters Ohio.

The number of Ohioans who lost their jobs in "mass layoffs" was higher in 2018 than the year before. 

Generally speaking, when a company with more than 100 employees decides to lay off 50 or more people, a federal law known as the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) considers that a "mass layoff." But before that can happen, an employer must provide employees with at least 60 days written notice.

United Soybean Board / Flickr

The year is winding down with much of the Ohio economy still humming, and some experts say 2019 could also bring good economic news to other parts of the state. Despite trends of job growth and lowering unemployment, the state still faces numerous challenges.

America's Growing Cop Shortage

Dec 12, 2018

It's a fall Monday morning in New Haven, Conn., and Officer Christian Bruckhart has lost track of how many calls he has had. He thinks it has been six. Maybe seven.

Updated at 4:14 p.m. ET Friday

The jobless rate remained at a nearly 50-year low of 3.7 percent in November as employers added 155,000 jobs, fewer than in October and less than expected by private analysts.

Meanwhile, wages grew 3.1 percent over the past 12 months, the same rate as in October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. Average earnings climbed to $27.35 an hour.

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