Florida Up 28,000 Private-Sector Jobs as Unemployment Holds Steady
Around the State
Employment in the Sunshine State held steady this summer, maintaining an 8.8 percent rate for the second month, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity on Friday.
While the percentage of eligible unemployed didn’t change from July, the August numbers included 28,000 new private-sector jobs, the largest month-
to-month increase since April 2011, the state job agency reported.
“This increase in new jobs is proving that the decisions we’re making here in Florida are pointing our state in the right direction,” Gov. Rick Scott stated in a release.
“Employers are aware of the talented and skilled work force we have here, and the August numbers prove that the economic climate in Florida is one that encourages job creation and economic development. Collectively, we’re creating an environment that fosters job creation, increased economic development and a positive business climate overall. I continue looking forward to identifying ways we can make Floridians and their companies more successful and ensuring Florida is the No. 1 business destination in the world.”
Earlier Friday, Scott, while appearing on "Fox & Friends" with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, urged Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to address more of “how you’re going to turn the economy around” on the campaign trail.
“We can’t continue the process that President Obama is taking us down, of higher taxes, more regulation, anti-business attitude, we’ve got to say we like businesses and we want them to succeed in our country,” Scott said. “We clearly do in our states.”
The three governors were attending a daylong summit in Dallas with Chinese investors that are traveling the United States.
“We want more investments in our states, all of our states do, we’re all competing, that is what makes us all better,” Scott said. “We’re all talking to them about why they should come to our states and why for sure they should come to our country.
“We have to understand that while we’re all competing for this, we’re competing in a global marketplace.”
According to the state agency, among the reasons for the slow recovery are employer uncertainty about economic and tax conditions; high corporate tax rates and burdensome regulations; businesses holding down costs and hiring due to weak consumer demand; mismatched skills of the unemployed relative to job openings; higher worker productivity due to technological improvements; the euro debt crisis; a slowdown in the economies in emerging markets in China, India, and Brazil; and congressional gridlock.
Florida’s monthly mark for August, which represents 818,000 jobless out of a labor force of 9.26 million, stands 0.7 percent higher than the national mark.
Since August 2011, the state mark has dropped from 10.5 percent while the national mark is down from 9.1 percent.
In giving a presentation last week on Florida’s projected budget for the next fiscal year, Florida’s chief economist Amy Baker, coordinator of the Florida Legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research, said a large portion of the state’s improved unemployment numbers come from people falling off the eligibility list without re-entering the work force.
The monthly numbers don’t include the 60 positions that Germany-based wind turbine maker Siemans has announced this week they will let go later this year, in part because of the looming expiration of a key U.S. wind tax credit, or the 1,414 that Fort Worth-based American Airlines has advised Florida this week will be let go in November as part of its continued efforts to rebound from bankruptcy.
The state Department of Economic Opportunity noted there are jobs available, as online help wanted postings in August 2012 showed more than 264,000 openings in Florida, up more than 33,000 from the positions posted as available in August 2011. Most of the jobs posted last month were in sales, health care, office and administrative support, and computer and mathematical occupations.
“Under Governor Scott’s leadership, Florida’s job creation and overall economic development numbers continue heading in the right direction,” DEO Executive Director Hunting Deutsch stated in a release. “DEO remains committed to working with Workforce Florida Inc., and the 24 Regional Workforce Boards and One-Stop Career Centers across the state to help place Floridians into the more than 260,000 available jobs.”
Three areas with high numbers of government workers topped the state for employment: Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin (6.1 percent), Gainesville (7.1 percent), and Tallahassee (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 (12.4 percent), Sebastian-Vero Beach (11.9 percent), and Port St. Lucie (11.4 percent).
Reach Jim Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 215-9889.