Expanding Robotics Company Highlighted as Florida Sees Dip in Unemployment
Around the State
As the state’s latest unemployment numbers were released Friday, Gov. Rick Scott was highlighting an expanding Gainesville company focused on making unmanned aerial vehicles.
Scott toured the construction site of Prioria Robotics’ new 22,000-square-foot manufacturing and research and development space in downtown Gainesville as the state Department of Economic Opportunity announced a slight downward tick in Florida’s unemployment numbers for September.
"We won this project because of our state’s business-friendly environment, as well as the strong community partnerships that Gainesville offers and the talent base available at the University of Florida and Santa Fe College,” Scott stated in a release.
“It’s a pleasure to look in on Prioria’s progress because it’s a preview of a promising future for business in Florida.”
The business, started in 2003 by University of Florida business and engineering alumni, decided to remain in Florida after considering proposals for the expansion from Canada, Georgia and North Carolina.
The company, which already employs 30, expects to add 35 new jobs at an average annual wage of $67,588.
The tour was made as the unemployment mark for Florida dipped to 8.7 percent in September, down 0.1 percent from August and July.
While the mark is 1.7 percentage points below where Florida’s unemployment stood in September 2011, the seasonally adjusted totals for nonagricultural positions represented just 800 new jobs from August 2012 to September.
"In September, we saw continued private-sector job growth and an increase in the number of available job openings around the state, which means that more employers are hiring and utilizing the skills and talents of thousands of Floridians," Scott stated in a release. “These numbers today tell us two things -- we still have more work to do to grow our economy, and we are heading in the right direction."
Florida still lags behind the U.S. unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.
In the run-up to the monthly release, the governor’s office had sent out releases touting a 15 percent increase in online job postings in Florida, with positions in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related fields up 9 percent.
Three areas with high numbers of government workers continue to top the state for employment: Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin (5.9 percent -- down from 6.1 percent in August), Gainesville (6.9 percent, down from 7.1 percent), and Tallahassee (7.3 percent, down from 7.5 percent).
Three areas that have been deep into periods of slow construction and dependent upon agriculture continue to hold the state’s highest unemployment marks: Palm Coast (11.9 percent, down from 12.4 percent), Sebastian-Vero Beach (11.3 percent, down from 11.9 percent), and Port St. Lucie (10.9 percent, down from 11.4 percent).
Reach Jim Turner at email@example.com or at (772) 215-9889.